So it has been a few weeks since my last blog post and for that- my apologies. Travel and holidays slowed my reading down and consequently my writing.
The good news is my year is slowing down a bit as I am on my next to last trip for the year and then a brief reprieve with family during the Christmas holiday (lots of time to write during holiday). Other good news is I have a number of papers recently published to review and hopefully share with you as well.
The paper for today's post is pretty cool as it provides a comprehensive assessment of the microbiome associated with different waste streams, facilities, and scales (laboratory and industrial).
Wynants, E., L. Frooninckx, S. Crauwels, C. Verreth, J. De Smet, C. Sandrock, J. Wohlfahrt, J. Van Schelt, S. Depraetere, B. Lievens, S. Van Miert, J. Claes, and L. Van Campenhout. 2018. Assessing the microbiota of black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens) reared on organic waste streams on four different locations at laboratory and large scale. Microbial Ecology.
Before I review the study and its finding, I would like to spend a few seconds discussing the importance of the microbiome (check out this page as related to the human microbiome). For those that do not fully understand the microbiome, it is the community of microbiomes inhabiting a given environment. This community often is described to include bacteria, fungi, protists, viruses, and more. With the work currently being done, most has focused on bacteria and fungi. Research is finding the microbiome is extremely important regulating physiology and behaviors of their hosts- something very cool (check out paper on interkingdom communication [in this case, interactions between microbiomes as well as their interactions multicellular organisms).
Characterization of these species is highly dependent on global efforts to describe them all (molecular methods) and store these data in data bases for others to use. Needless to say, even with given technology, we are just scratching the surfaces in terms of identifying and describing the host of microscopic organisms found in practically all habitats around the world.
Now - back to the study and what they did... and what they found.
The study explored the microbiome associated with different waste streams from different companies. They determined the microbiome of larvae as well as the remaining wastes after digestion.
The big picture determined there is tremendous variability across batches within sites as well as across sites. They also determined some pathogens were detected (e.g., Salmonella); however, the origins of these pathogens was not clear. The researchers also determined the microbiome was quite different in the larvae than the substrates on which they feed. This discovery is to be expected as the BSF larvae, like many other saprophytic species cultivate the microbiome associated with a resource as a means to suppress pathogens as well as create an environment appropriate for their maximal use of the resource.
Takeaway: More work is sorely needed exploring the microbiome for safety and production reasons.
As a FYI- these authors published another paper on this topic which was reviewed in the blog back in May 2018.
De Smet, J., E. Wynants, P. Cos, and L. Van Campenhout. 2018. Microbial community dynamics during rearing of Black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens) and impact on exploitation potential. Applied Environmental Microbiology 84.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Lover of all things great and small (reference to microbes)
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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