Black Soldier Fly Larvae Reduce Antibiotic Resistant Gene Frequency in Poultry Wastes: Yes- This is Amazing!
As many of you know, I lead a duel life with one part of career being devoted to research. My laboratory focuses on decomposition ecology as related to a number of topics including the BSF.
Over the course of the past couple of years I have worked with several of my colleagues (Jibin Zhang and Minmin Cai) on the relationship between antibiotics in wastes and their impact on BSF production. We had a publication come out a little while back that demonstrated BSF and their companion microbes actually degrade the antibiotic tetracycline in waste- which is great news for remediation of associated concerns.
You can learn more about antibiotics in the environment through this Science News and associated scientific review on the topic.
The first paper we published (as previously mentioned) is:
Cai, M., S. Ma, R. Hu, J. K. Tomberlin, C. Yu, Y. Huang, S. Zhan, W. Li, L. Zheng, Z. Yu, and J. Zhang. 2018. Systematic characterization and proposed pathway of tetracycline degradation in solid waste treatment by Hermetia illucens with intestinal microbiota. Environmental Pollution 242: 634-642.
As a followup to this previous work, we just had a second paper published demonstrating the frequency of antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs) in the microbial community remaining in the waste after digestion is reduced.
Cai, M., S. Ma, R. Hu, J. K. Tomberlin, L. S. Thomashow, L. Zheng, W. Li, Z. Yu, and J. Zhang. Rapidly mitigating antibiotic resistant risks in chicken manure by Hermetia illucens bioconversion with intestinal microflora. Environmental Microbiology 0.
More specifically we demonstrated:
1. non-sterile BSF reduced ARGs by 95%.
2. remaining bacteria, which was primarily Firmicutes had a 65% reduction in ARGs.
3. human pathogen populations declined by 70-92%.
4. conditions of the substrate impacted the ability of BSF to have this impact.
5. bacteria associated with BSF most likely play a role in this process (it is not just the BSF).
These data are tremendous as they demonstrate other benefits of using BSF to recycle animal wastes- not just food wastes.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Bioremediator of sorts
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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