A collaborative paper out of the Gasco & Tomberlin labs . This study was completed in collaboration between Tomberlin at Texas A&M University with Marco Meneguz and Laura Gasco with the University of Turin in Italy. Marco had a chance to spend a few months working with Tomberlin (strange to write about myself in this fashion- but good for the blog) and his lab. Marco did a great job as you will read about in his paper. Laura- thanks for the opportunity to collaborate. The paper is:
Meneguz, M., L. Gasco, and J. K. Tomberlin. 2018. Impact of pH and feeding system on black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens, L; Diptera: Stratiomyidae) larval development. PLOS ONE 13: e0202591.
Major findings from the study:
1. Black soldier fly larvae can digest waste that varies in pH
2. Daily vs total feeding impacts larval development time (try to do single feeding- results in faster development)
3. More work is needed to figure out how pH is interacting with the microbiome of the BSF so that the system can be enhanced more.
Thoughts to Consider: One thing to keep in mind is that pH is just one factor within the system. We need to systematically break the system down and determine what other factors are impacting larval production/waste conversion by the BSF. Other factors: oxygen or CO2 levels, temperature, larval density, container dimensions, particle size, and the list goes on and on and on. :)
A key aspect of this study, like any other laboratory study, is, how do these results translate to industrial scale? Are they consistent?
Something else to think about with these data- can you, or do you need to, manipulate pH with waste you are digesting with BSF larvae? I am still not fully convinced they can handle all pH levels. And, I do think manipulation of pH could be used to enhanced production- we just do not know how to do this manipulation yet.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Proud of Marco!
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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