Hot Off the Press! New Publication out of South Korea on Antibacterial Abilities of the Black Soldier Fly
For those that do not know me personally, I thought you might find it interesting to know a bit about how I work with the BSF.... really in terms of understanding its biology, behavior, and uses in waste management. While I have done a fair amount of work with this species, I truly rely on my colleagues around the world to continue pushing the BSF industry forward in a direction both efficient and safe.
So, I have a little trick (not anything unique as I am sure many of you do the same thing) to help me keep up with publication as they become available. I have set up Google to notify me of such publications. This way, I do not have to hunt them down or even attempt to keep up with the multitude of journals that now publish on this topic. For example- this weekend I was notified about a paper just published in Entomological Research by our colleagues in South Korea. What is even more impressive is the research efforts were not specifically angled towards waste management- but something more medically focused- discovery of novel antimicrobials for wound treatment (video embedded) and when dealing with antibiotic resistance (video embedded). Please note- wound treatment video might be a bit graphic for some.
Choi, W. H., H.-J. Choi, T. W. Goo, and F.-S. Quan. Novel antibacterial peptides induced by probiotics in Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) larvae. Entomological Research: n/a-n/a.
Regardless- I love this type of research! Such efforts really get at the mechanisms that allow the BSF to be so successful in such terribly extreme environments (e.g., highly unstable, loads of potential pathogens to the BSF, lots of competition). I applaud their efforts and encourage them to continue to push out such valuable research.
Overview: The researchers wanted to activity of proteins produced by BSF as antibacterial agents against Klebsiella pneumoniae (video is pretty funny to watch given it is Halloween season in the USA) and Shigella dysenteriae (very dry video- but gives you an idea of the pathogen(s) cause ailment).
Synopsis: They isolated the peptides from the hemolymph (blood of an insect) and separated into various components until the authors were able to pinpoint the peptides that they believe were potential antibacterials. These agents were then tested against the bacteria mentioned previously.
Conclusions: The basic finding was these peptides that were isolated from the BSF larvae were in fact antibacterial. So, what does this mean? Can you eat them and expect to have an infection reduced? NOOOOOOOOOO is the answer!!!!!!!! Please, please, please do not eat live larvae, much less processed larvae that could potentially carry other pathogens.
So- what is this work significant? I am glad you asked this question. The reason this research is significant is such peptides/proteins could potentially be synthesized, mass-produced, and used to treat infections where these pathogens are present without concerns of antimicrobial resistance.
I hope you find this information useful and interesting. Until next time best of luck and happy BSF farming!!
Disclaimer: I cannot speak to the quality or accuracy of videos embedded in the blog posts- so take them with a grain of salt.
Jeff Tomberlin, PhD, OCD about BSF literature
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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