I am by no means an expert in life cycle analysis. So I will keep my comments to a minimum and allow you, the reader, to draw your own conclusions from the following article. But, I would like to say, while the topic is fairly intense with regards to the complexities of the analyses, the article is an easy read- just take your time with it. To help get you started.....Life cycle analysis allows for the assessment of the environmental impact of a given process.
The following article is a thorough evaluation of the impact of industrialized production (a case example) on the environment (good and bad). The article is straight forward and very efficient with clear conclusions from the analysis along with recommendations stated at the end of the paper.
Compliments to Alex Mathys and colleagues at ETH and Eric Schmitt at Protix for pulling together such a thorough study. Also, extended gratitude to Protix for opening up their process at a pilot plant to allow for such a critical study for the industry as a whole.
While the industry is still in its infancy- great strides have been made in its industrialization while being sensitive to environmental impacts and trying to have a positive influence. Hats off to the entrepreneurs globally committed to insect production and doing it the "right" way!
Sustainably...economical.... environmentally friendly!
Smetana, S., E. Schmitt, and A. Mathys. 2019. Sustainable use of Hermetia illucens insect biomass for feed and food: Attributional and consequential life cycle assessment. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 144: 285-296.
Some of the Major Finds:
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Impressed
Compliments to the authors for pulling together so much information into one location.
Lamsal, B., H. Wang, P. Pinsirodom, and A. T. Dossey. 2019. Applications of insect-derived protein ingredients in food and feed industry. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society 96: 105-123.
A few highlights...
Protein Sources- This section set the tone for the paper as it reviewed protein and its value to society, current usages, and sources. I particularly found the discussion of plant based vs animal based protein of interest as it relates to conversion rates when these materials are consumed. The authors used this section to build the justification for insects as a protein source.
Protein Location- Some discussion I found particularly interesting was the overview provided on protein content of insects and the location of these proteins in the insects. The reason this section was particularly interesting to me is it emphasized not all protein can be extracted from insects and used. This limitation is partly due to the protein being bound in regions such as the exoskeleton.
Cultural Approval- A discussion of cultural acceptance of insect-based protein was also discussed (comparison between groups in Germany and China where the second group was more accepting of insects as food than the other). This topic pops up a few times as it remains a major challenge to the insects as food industry.
Terminology- The authors review the use of select terms, such as flour, as related to different sectors with the insects of food and feed industry. They suggest the use of some terms needs to be limited to specific aspects of the industry or avoided all together. For example, as with the term, flour, as it relates to plant-based material and could potential ruffle feathers of the wheat industry (much like the use of the term meat or milk).
Check out these links related to controversy of term use: Meat and Milk
Processing Considerations- A nice overview of how insects are processed today as related to industrial production. They authors discuss oven drying, freeze drying, and other techniques applied. They also discuss the limitations of these techniques as related to economics, efficiency, and quality assurance.
Product Development. A summary of the host of products that can be produced with insects was provided. This section included a table listing different items currently on the market. They also discuss the economics of some products as feed replacements. Fo example, they review articles that discussed replacing broiler diets with BSF-based meal and the positive data generated to date. Mainly, findings indicating replacing standard diets with BSF-based diets resulted in similar production levels and efficiencies (no negative impact on feed conversion or production). The same was determined in certain fish studies using insect meal as a feed.
Challenges to Industry. Primary hurdles faced by the industry that were discussed in the article are not surprising- How to increase production? How to insure quality and safety? The need to diversity products through new insects being explored for their use as food/feed as well as subcomponents of the insects that can be harvested to increase product diversity. I appreciate the authors urging greater continued research (something I enjoy- as you can imagine) and collaboration with industry.
Overall- A nice article that can bring a person up to speed with the industry globally.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Continuing Efforts to Expand Understanding
Continued Efforts to Demonstrate Use of Black Soldier Fly Meal as Feed in Aquaculture: Today's Study- Atlantic Salmon
Over the course of writing for this blog, I have had a few discussion pieces on insect meal as feed for the aquaculture industry. And, a lot of the discussion has revolved around select fish species. One fish produced in massive quantities and of interest to the BSF world is the Atlantic Salmon.
This paper, which is set to be published "officially" soon is now available online in preprint form. I recommend it as a reading for anyone interested in BSF meal as aquaculture feed. I cannot state this enough times- we need more studies like this one to continue to build support for the insect-farming industry while also making sure BSF meal is an appropriate feed in terms of economics, quality, and safety.
Belghit, I., N. S. Liland, P. Gjesdal, I. Biancarosa, E. Menchetti, Y. Li, R. Waagbø, Å. Krogdahl, and E.-J. Lock. 2018. Black soldier fly larvae meal can replace fish meal in diets of sea-water phase Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Aquaculture.
In this particular study, the authors used a diet ranging from 0 to 100% BSF meal in combination with fishmeal. They authors determined development was not impacted by the inclusion of BSF in the fish diet. Digestibility was similar across diets and fat content was not changed by including BSF meal.
Furthermore, a sensory study (e.g., taste test) of the fillets produced indicated "small" changes.
Odor and color of the fillets was not changed.
Flavor was not changed; however, there was an increase in rancid flavor (not significant). Texture of the salmon fed BSF meal were soft; however, once baked, they were considered harder than the control.
Overall, a very nice study. The figures included in the paper were quite impressive as well. So, if you have time- check it out.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Fish Consumer
I came across this summary paper from a conference discussing the ability of the BSF to convert such waste to insect biomass.
While personally not a huge tofu fan, it appears the BSF consume its waste with equal enthusiasm as with other organic waste streams. Not surprisingly- BSF larvae consumed it.
Anggraini, R., P. Yuliyarti, and Yusnina. 2018. The effect of percentage of tofu dregs as a medium grows against the number of maggot populations (Hermetia illucens). IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering 453: 012047.
This article is open access- so enjoy. But, a bit of patience as the writing is a bit raw. However, I applaud the authors efforts with such studies!
Jeffery K Tomberlin, PhD, Supporter of ALL research BSF
How often does science become art? You know, situations where studies are so well done, and the figures fit the manuscript so well, that together, they become a work of art.
Well, I definitely feel the authors of today's paper being discussed accomplished such a feat. I am very impressed with the experiment design, data analysis, interpretation of said data, and the significance of the study to the field of BSF production. I wish I could include the images from the paper in my blog post but I don't think the journal would appreciate me doing so.
If you have time, please review this paper- if only for the images. Very impressive!
Bruno, D., M. Bonelli, F. De Filippis, I. Di Lelio, G. Tettamanti, M. Casartelli, D. Ercolini, and S. Caccia. 2019. The intestinal microbiota of Hermetia illucens larvae is affected by diet and shows a diverse composition in the different midgut regions. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 85: e01864-01818.
Main takeaways from the study:
1. BSF larval gut varies in terms of pH with the forgot and midgut being acidic and the hindgut being basic.
2. Microbiota of the substrate impacts the microbiota in the midgut of the BSF larvae. This is a very interesting find as it could indicate BSF larvae potentially are challenged by the microbes in the food substrate just as the nutritional makeup impacts BSF larval performance.
3. Dietary composition of the diet impacts the microbiota of the BSF larval gut.
In my opinion, here is the major discovery-This study determined, for these diets, BSF larvae did not impact the microbiota of the substrate. These data are counter to what has been found previously. Based on the figures, BSF larvae did not impact the number of bacteria present in the diet either.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, BSF artisan
Explanation of an industrial application of black soldier fly converting food waste into valuable products
This is the second industrial project demonstration, to review the first demo, please use the link: what-we-do-in-china-teamwork-through-evo-jmgreen.html
The purpose of this experiment was to compare the performance of a 315W halogen lamp and the 150W JM Green Black Soldier Fly Breeding LED (Model BSF-4C-200-3030B). The experiments were performed independently by David Deruyttter at the Inagro research institute (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Inagro Research Institute maintained an indoor black soldier fly colony on site using 315W halogen lamp in their Insect Pilot Plant. This population was used for this experiment. The test was performed in an indoor environment with no exposure to natural sunlight. The test was done in two cages with identical dimensions of 120Lx120Wx130H (cm) with the 10,000 of pupae introduced, and each cage was installed with one type of lighting source. The ambient conditions were maintained at 28°C and 80% RH. The experiment was performed three times.
The total amount of eggs collected from each cage over the entire test period was recorded. The collected eggs from one cage were allocated to hatch together, and the pure neonates (1 or 2 days old) were weighted to calculate the hatching rate. The hatching rate was calculated based on the assumption that each egg weighted 0.025mg, and each neonate weighted 0.015mg (Cammack, 2016, unpublish data), so the neonate weight was 60% of the egg weight.
The hatching rate is then calculated by:
"total neonate weight / (the amount of egg collected x 0.6) x 100%"
The viable eggs per wattage of the lighting source (E) is calculated by:
"the amount of egg collected x hatching rate / the wattage of the lighting source"
The E indicates the energy consumption requirement on the lighting source. The higher the value, the more efficient the light source.
Please note that the lighting source is just one of many factors that contribute to successful breeding of BSF. If colony management skill was not mastered, one should seek for reliable egg source nearby to start your farm operations.
Author: Spring Yang
Editor: David Deruyttter
It is rare where I get to mix pop culture in with discussions on the BSF. But, this paper has presented a great platform for me to do so. Everyone recognizes the ability of BSF to digest distillery waste and quite a bit of research has been done on this topic.
Well, this paper came across my desk recently, and it is quite a find. I say this for two reasons, 1) it allows me to discuss Snoop Dogg, and 2) it demonstrates BSF use is not limited to recycling wastes from typical western spirits.
Dobermann, D., L. M. Field, and L. V. Michaelson. 2019. Using Hermetia illucens to process Ugandan waragi waste. Journal of Cleaner Production 211: 303-308.
So, what is waragi? What I found out is this spirit is a form of gin produced in Uganda. Based on the introduction in the paper, this product is not legal so methods vary quite a bit in terms of its production. I guess you could say waragi is a boot-legged (look at definition 2b) beverage. The description of the recipe is quite fascinating- "combination of molasses, pure ethanol and other unidentified chemicals which are fermented in old oil drums..." In the end, a waste residue is produced.
Basically what the authors determined BSF could be used to recycle this waste! I highly recommend this paper as it is a unique application of BSF technology.
So- why the reference to Snoop Dogg? Well, I am a fan- and I his hit song "Gin & Juice" is a classic that keeps rocking!!
One afterthought... if waragi is a boot-legged spirit.. would one conclude the resulting BSF are also boot-legged? All I can picture is the idea of Smokey & the Bandit with BSF as the cargo.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Gangsta BSF
For those that I am friends with on Facebook, you are aware of my, as well as Spring's, recent travel to Malaysia to visit with our partners, Betsol. For those that have not not aware, here is a summary for you.
The trip was a quick one as I arrive on a Sunday morning and departed the next Saturday. What I can say is WK and Thomas did a great job organizing an extremely efficient use of our time together to visit with many local and national officials to discuss the production of BSF. This work included visits with officials in Cambodia as well. From this experience, I can definitely say Betsol is very focused and well on their way to becoming a BSF force locally and globally.
Besides visiting with government officials we also visited with researchers at institutions throughout both nations. And, I am excited to work with old and new colleagues on BSF projects.
Here are a few photos of my experiences. Both countries are truly amazing and my life has been enriched by the people I met, the sites I saw, the sounds I heard, and of course- the food I ate. Many thanks to WK and Thomas for being such great hosts.
I often find my discussions of the black soldier fly (BSF) as related to waste recycling almost to be analogous to discussing a "cage match" in wrestling (check out the link to understand cage matches) The BSF larva is the champion and all waste types are the challengers. Who can enter the ring and defeat the champion? In other words- is there a waste the BSF larva cannot digest???
Now, I realize there are some waste streams the BSF does not recycle as well as others. I actually remember trying to raise BSF on paper waste.... I won't go into too much detail but needless to say- they larvae didn't do very well.
But- when you consider most common waste streams- especially produced through agriculture, the BSF does a pretty good job.
Here is another example of how good the BSF larvae are at recycling such wastes.
Julita, U., Y. Suryani, I. Kinasih, A. Yuliawati, T. Cahyanto, Y. Maryeti, A. D. Permana, and L. L. Fitri. 2018. Growth performance and nutritional composition of black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L), (Diptera : Stratiomyidae) reared on horse and sheep manure. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science 187: 012071.
In the case of this study- BSF larvae were able to recycle the waste; however, their performance was much better when these manure types were mixed with vegetable water. A couple of things to keep in mind- these waste streams (sans vegetable waste) are typically low in moisture and high in tannins- but which can be detrimental to insect development.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Wrestling Fan when discussing BSF
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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