I have been developing some slide sets for a workshop I am participating in at Wageningen University in the Netherlands next week, and one of the main topics is BSF digestion of feedstuff. And, while I typically discuss the use of pre-consumer food waste from homes, stores, restaurants and so on as a feedstock for BSF, I have not talked about the use agricultural food waste.
Thing about it- fruits, vegetables, and grains are harvested from the field but large amounts of by-product remains- such as spoiled material as well as the non-consumable parts (e.g., tomato plants, corn stalks, etc). In many cases these materials are tilled into the ground. Check out this article from a few years ago as perspective.
But, why are these materials not harvested and recycled with BSF? I think one of the primary reasons is the lack of nutritional value of these materials and the high cellulose content. So, I thought I would include this topic as part of my slide set to be presented during the workshop. Based on my quick review of the literature, there really isn't much known about the ability of the BSF to digest cellulose. But, I did come across this recent publication:
Gao, Z., Wang, W., Lu, X., Zhu, F., Liu, W., Wang, X., Lei, C., 2019. Bioconversion performance and life table of black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) on fermented maize straw. Journal of Cleaner Production 230, 974-980.
Take a look if you have time; there are two major takeaways from the paper I would like you to pay particular attention to:
1. BSF can digest plant material high in cellulose- although it takes longer and production isn't as great as with traditional feedstock. But even more importantly-
2. The task was completed by adding a fermentation step. I believe it is commonly known that fermentation of materials to be fed to BSF, 1) enhances the process, 2) reduces odors, and 3) allows for the feedstock to be stored long periods of time prior to use.
Insects as Food & Feed in the News
Canadian Government Seeking Input- definitely check out this story. This is an opportunity to provide input on the use of insects as a food ingredient. I did not notice a direct link to where you can submit your input. So you might have to do a little digging.
Protix Opens New Facility- This is definitely something to be read. In fact, check out the video posted to Youtube. I am truly impressed at the size of the facility and its potential.
From Poo to Food in Kenya- I always appreciate the diversification of BSF (as you know). And, I especially liked this story as it demonstrates the utility of BSF to protect the environment. Kudos to my colleagues in Kenya!
Vegan Trend Boosts Interest in Insect Protein- This is an interesting story about insects as a protein source being supported by vegans... but is it vegan???
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, looking forward to seeing friends & colleagues in the Netherlands
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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