Well first, I would like to say; I made it back from China to Texas. What a great trip. Always a blast catching up with colleagues and friends in China- especially those interested in the BSF. Tremendous advancements being made, and I look forward to our continued collaborations and sharing these efforts here.
So, as I said, I will be attempting to publish on the blog a couple of times per week- between Monday and Friday. I will use the weekends to recharge my batteries and think about topics for future posts. But as I have said, if you have ideas, please share with me. I have enjoyed my conversations on Facebook with many individuals around the world (special thanks to Paul Olivier for our conversations- definitely has led to a number of topics coming up that I will discuss in future blog posts).
The paper(s) to be discussed in this post are with regards to the use of BSF for recycling animal manure. For those not familiar with this issue, confined animal facilities (CAFOs) produce more manure than they know what to do with. Typically, this manure is applied as fertilizer on land surrounding the CAFO, and in many instances, crops produced are used as feed for the livestock (e.g., silage for dairy). However, there is only so much manure that can be applied to a given location before it becomes saturated. At that time, producers often have to truck the manure to other locations, which is an added expense if they do not have other options (e.g., composting, biogas production) available to them.
But, as you can expect, the BSF can be a unique method for recycling these wastes. In fact, previous research has shown the BSF does a great job recycling these materials. Sheppard pointed out with poultry, the BSF can recycle 50% dry matter (give or take) and produce larvae. The resulting residue could potentially be used as a fertilizer (although the material is still relatively “hot” due to high concentrations of nitrogen being present still).
The paper to be discussed today is:
Myers, H. M., J. K. Tomberlin, B. D. Lambert, and D. Kattes. 2008. Development of black soldier fly (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) larvae fed dairy manure. Environmental Entomology 37: 11-15.
You can locate the referenced article at:
Overview: This study explored feed rate of dairy manure to the black soldier fly and its ability to recycle the waste to produce larval biomass. Four feed rates were applied in this study. This approach took a continuous feed approach rather than using a batch system (i.e., provide one lump some of manure and allow them to digest it). The idea again being, the BSF could be used to recycle dairy waste and convert it to protein. If you get a chance, check out this link to dairy waste. It provides you some idea of what CAFOs are dealing with in terms of sustainable approaches for handling manure on site.
Synopsis: This study demonstrated the BSF could be used to recycle waste and produce protein. Manure reduction could be up to 50% (including moisture loss) or more. Also, phosphorus and nitrogen were significantly reduced; however, from our observations (outside of this study), the residue is still fairly “hot” and would need to be diluted with other organic material or composted additionally in order to reduce the nitrogen content so the residue could then be applied to land. One other observation, feed rate (as discussed in previous blog posts) impacts duration of BSF development. Determining the appropriate feed rate (if not using batch system) is important to maximize larval production and waste reduction.
Conclusion: BSF can be used to recycle dairy manure. While many researchers and practitioners are interested in industrializing this insect for food waste remediation, efforts should be made to expand to sustainable waste management in CAFOs. Such an approach would, 1) reduce environmental burden of CAFOs, and 2) create new revenue streams for CAFOs, thus making them economically more stable.
As always- I hope this post is interesting and educational. Please Facebook like and tweet as a means to get the word out to others.
Until next time- all the best, good luck, and happy BSF farming!
Some other articles to consider are:
Great article on house fly production from manure:
Khan, H. A. A., S. A. Shad, and W. Akram. 2012. Effect of livestock manures on the fitness of house fly, Musca domestica L. (Diptera: Muscidae). Parasitology Research 111: 1165-1171.
Fecal sludge recycling:
Lalander, C., S. Diener, M. E. Magri, C. Zurbrügg, A. Lindström, and B. Vinnerås. 2013. Faecal sludge management with the larvae of the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) — From a hygiene aspect. Science of The Total Environment 458: 312-318.
Čičková, H., G. L. Newton, R. C. Lacy, and M. Kozanek. 2015. The use of fly larvae for organic waste treatment. Waste management 35.
Jeff Tomberlin, PhD, BSF Aficionado
Individuals with over 25 years research experience with the black soldier fly. We are passionate about the science behind the black soldier fly and its ability to convert waste to protein.
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