I know, a topic probably discussed many times here as well as other discussion boards, publications, news outlets, etc. But, I wanted to bring it up.... just... one... more.... time. Since BSF are so adept at digesting animal waste, why not use it to do so? Now, don't get me wrong. I realize there are matters that need to be considered, such as pathogens, heavy metals, and in-system recycling. And, I strongly recommend a comprehensive plan be developed to evaluate the process and ensure its safety. But, as you will see in the following article (by Chelsea Miranda- yes, I am very proud of her. Chelsea did an outstanding job with her PhD in my lab at TAMU), BSF are very effective at reducing a host of manure types. This paper is just the first of six more to be published (exciting, right?!). But I challenge you to consider this option and advocate for more research in this arena. If we can create a safe system for recycling such wastes, why not use it?
Miranda, C. D., J. A. Cammack, and J. K. Tomberlin. 2019. Life-history traits of the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera: Stratiomyidae), reared on three manure types. Animals 9: 281.
One thing to note with this study is the scale. The size of the size is definitely bench-top. So, don't expect these results to translate to industrial scale.
Insects as Food & Feed in the News.....
Mealworms in your food- a nice story on our friend, Lars Heckmann at the Danish Technology Institute.
IPIFF hard at work developing standards in EU- A great overview of some challenges faced by the insects as food sector. It also discusses current debate on food hygiene occurring in EU.
Edible insect market currently valued at $25 billion USD- Something I have been advocating for the past couple of years- diversify, diversify, diversify the products produced with insects as an ingredient.
Colleagues at UC, Davis create startup on insects- Nice job, Lydia and company. I wish you the best of luck!
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Proud Academic Papa
While, I would much rather pluck each article published in this issue of the journal, Animals, and use them as individual blog posts (allows me to have about a dozen or more posts just from this one issue), I think (this time), it is better to simply provide you with the link to a great collection of articles on insects as feed.
Laura Gasco did a great job assembling a team of researchers to present their latest results on insects as a feed source for a variety of livestock, poultry, and aquaculture. I encourage you to check this link periodically as there are new articles being added to the special addition regularly (hint- my lab has one that will be posted soon).
Special Issue "Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed"
Here are just a few topics covered in the special issue:
Insects in the News.....A Single Special Post
Youth Invests Time Developing a Home for Ducks: I met this young lady, Azja, at a 4H poultry show this past week. If you have a chance, visit her website. She is very impressive as she has developed a home for ducks not wanted by their owners anymore. She has also initiated a service where she takes her partner, Cuddle Quack, and his friends to visit individuals (i.e., assisted living homes) that enjoy the company of animals. Cuddle Quack even has a youtube channel, twitter feed (if the link does not work- you can find her on twitter), and facebook page. It looks like Cuddle Quack is also a great friend to Azja as well. Again- very impressive! I truly enjoy seeing individuals as young as Azja involved with her community. Please find her on twitter or facebook and encourage her. I know she would appreciate it.
Jeffery K Tomberlin, PhD, Impressed by Person Committed to Community Service
"A candle burning at both ends burns brightest, but it cannot last the night." - Joseph T. Shockley
Marianne Clopton Shockley, Ph. D., of Apalachee, Georgia passed from this earthly dimension on Sunday, March 12, 2019. She was the third child and second daughter of Drs. John & Sandra Shockley, also residents of Apalachee. Marianne and her elder sister, Suzanne (Mrs. Eric) Hendricks of Soperton, Georgia shared the same birthday of August 14th, though Marianne was five years younger. Their paternal uncle Colonel Peter S. Shockley, Ret., formerly of Alexandria, Virginia, also shared the ubiquitous August 14th birthday.
Before joining the faculty of the Entomology Department at the University of Georgia, Dr. Shockley received her Doctorate of Philosophy from UGA in 2009. While in Athens, she was responsible for a great number of the Entomology Department's Community Outreach projects, which included speaking to primary, elementary and middle school students throughout the area about the importance of pollinators such as bees and fruit flies, the viability of insects as a food source, and the value of insects and arachnids in supporting human life on our planet. For more than a decade, Dr. Shockley planned, organized, and taught UGA's summer educational program affectionately known as Bug Camp. Depending upon the local interest, three to six camps could be offered each summer, with Dr. Shockley at the helm of each and every classroom lesson and field trip. Utilizing the University's satellite campuses in tropical locales, such as Ecuador, Dr. Shockley also guided remote expeditions for graduate students, as well as undergrads. Butterflies were always a treasured find, although exotic reptiles were glimpsed on multiple occasions.
Dr. Shockley's favorite professional activity, though, was introducing folks to recipes which included insects such as crickets and mealworms. Many a young camper or Entomology student will long remember their first taste of rice cereal treats prepared with freeze-dried crickets, or ChexMix including roasted mealworms. Dr. Shockley published in numerous academic journals and also contributed to several books authored on the subject of edible insects. A speaking engagement in South Africa proved to be incredibly enlightening for the entomologist. There are scores of local populations on the continent that subsist primarily on insects and ground insect meal. She returned stateside more excited than ever about the role her beloved bugs could play in eliminating hunger and food shortages, yet simultaneously increasing protein levels for individuals with metabolic issues.
Yet Marianne's favorite personal activity was spending time with her two children, Paul, age 17 and Nora, age 15, both high school students in Madison, Georgia. With the influence and guidance of their grandfather, affectionately known as Papa John, the young pair spent hours on horseback, gradually increasing their skill levels, so as to be able to compete in Georgia High School Rodeo Association events, such as heading & heeling for Paul and barrel racing for Nora. Marianne learned how to drive a 1 ton pick-up truck, pulling a 26 foot horse trailer, on a recent rodeo trip to Alabama. There was no activity too small nor too large for Marianne to organize around her two beloved babies. At Apalachee United Methodist Church, where she was a lifelong member, the trio were often found in Sunday School class, along with friends of the children. Years ago, Marianne's mother, lovingly known as Nee-Nee, began the tradition of preparing a home-cooked Sunday noon meal for the burgeoning class of Bible scholars.
Paul and Nora were also vital team members of their mother's Bug Camps. Before they reached double-digit ages, either child could identify the species of ant crawling around their cousin's swimming pool or spider sunning itself on the window sills of their grandparents legendary back porch. They also assisted their mother, in later years, on local field trips and exhibitions. It was not unusual for the little family to take a weekend beach trip to Folly Beach or Sullivan's Island, South Carolina.
In addition to her birthday sister Suzanne, Marianne leaves behind one brother, S. Reid Shockley of Apalachee, and younger sister, Ayla (Mrs. Richard) Crippen of Atlanta. Her nieces and nephews - Miranda, Hailey and JT Hendricks, Jack and Dash Crippen, will forever remember their Aunt Marianne as being jovial and full of light and laughter. A multitude of aunts, uncles and cousins will also remember Marianne's bug obsession and joie de vivre. The faculty, staff, former and current students of entomology classes will never forget Dr. Shockley adventurous spirit and willingness to help others. Her innumerable friends from high school, college and the professional community will treasure receiving her ceaseless smiles.
Dr. Marianne Shockley's memorial service will be held on Friday, May 17th, 2019 at Apalachee United Methodist Church, beginning at 2pm. The family wishes to extend their deepest and sincerest gratitude to everyone who has stopped by the family home of Hylea, many bearing gifts of food and/or paper products. All have expressed a desire to assist Marianne's children as they grieve the untimely loss of their loving and beautiful mother. A GoFundMe page has been set up for those wishing to donate to the "Celebration of Life of Marianne Shockley".
Donations can also be made to the Apalachee United Methodist Church, in honor and memory of Marianne. These can be mailed to Hazel Nicholson, 1565 Apalachee Road, Madison, Georgia 30650.
"She worked hard. She played harder. She loved hardest of all." - anonymous
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Missing my friend and colleague
I am at a meeting in Florida, USA and currently listening to a discussion on disease ecology. So, while the topic is a bit outside my area of expertise, I thought I would quickly post a blog post I have been developing for this week.
This article evaluated the replacement of soybean oil with BSF larval oil in the diets of poultry. Turns out, if BSF larval oil is used, the meat quality of finisher broilers is not different from that of chickens fed a standard diet containing soybean oil. But, the authors point out the fat composition of the BSF is sub-optimal for providing healthy meat for consumption. This study is a great contribution as there is simply not enough data available globally to truly know how to optimize BSF as a diet for various livestock.
Cullere, M., A. Schiavone, S. Dabbou, L. Gasco, and A.D. Zotte. 2019. Meat quality and sensory traits of finishing broiler chickens fed with black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens L.) larvae fat as alternative fat source. Animals.
Insects as Food & Feed in the News....sorry- not much coming up this week. :(
Beyond Traditional Meat- nice story on a startup in the insects as food community.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Floridian for the Day
An interesting dissertation out the University of Liege that caused me to pause and reflect a bit on my "purpose" as a researcher and practitioner in the BSF industry. If I am not mistaken, I believe the student is from the Republic of the Congo and is now a professor there (based on my forensic skills and my sleuthing abilities through the internet. The title of his dissertation is:
Agroecological Intensification of Integrated Agriculture Aquaculture Systems: The Case of Smallholder Farms in the Western Democratic Republic of Congo
My reason for sharing this dissertation is really more than just about BSF- well, in part is about BSF... but really about philosophy as related to the industry as a whole. I have always felt the BSF belongs to the global community and can be used to enhance economic growth in developing or developed nations throughout the world while protecting the environment or at minimum reducing our impact on it.
We, the industry, should try to do more to work with others throughout the world to enhance the use of BSF. Based on the work being published and the efforts of many companies to work globally- it is obvious such efforts are being made. And, I often talk about this system not being reliant on "space-age" technology to mass produce. Individuals can mass produce the BSF with simple materials commonly available. The point being, if the conditions are appropriate, anyone should be able to produce BSF.
In fact, as demonstrated in this dissertation, an integrated approach to sustainable agriculture can alleviate economic pressures on communities without heavy investment from outside entities. And, BSF can be part of this effort.
At the same time, such an approach, while eliminating, or reducing, dependencies on imports to sustain a system, creates community industry where one farmer can feed family, a village of farmers feeds a region, a region feeds a nation, and so on.
Insects as Food & Feed in the News
Insect Sausage and Ice Cream: Boy has this article gained traction!
Margaret Krome: A discussion on insects as a natural part of the human diet.
Crickets Taste Like Cotton Candy- in Maine? Novel approaches for preparing crickets for consumption by people.
Oviposit in the News! Congrats Oviposit team on a great article about your company.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Inspired by Community
A little celebration of some recent events before discussing BSF: So, the past two weeks have been fairly hectic in my laboratory (FLIES Facility) at Texas A&M University as I had two PhD students defend (successfully). I could not be MORE proud and excited for Dr. Dongmin Kim and Dr. Chelsea Miranda. Dongmin studied microbe-insect interactions as related to the pathogen causing Buruli Ulcer and mosquitoes. Chelsea studied the ability of BSF and house fly larvae to digest poultry, swine, and dairy manure. They both did an excellent job. Dongmin is off to the University of Florida as a post-doctoral associate. And, Chelsea is going to continue working with me at Texas A&M University as well as at EVO Conversion Systems, LLC. It should be noted, I have had 29 students complete their graduate degrees under my supervision- Chelsea is my first BSF PhD and she has set the bar very high for future students.
BSF Paper in the Spotlight this Week: This paper represents the third by Dr. Barragan-Fonseca that I have reviewed on this forum. This publication, much like the previous two (one of which was her dissertation) is an excellent study of BSF. It also highlights the importance of balancing nutrition fed to BSF larvae.
Barragan-Fonseca, K. B., G. Gort, M. Dicke, and J. J. A. van Loon. Effects of dietary protein and carbohydrate on life-history traits and body protein and fat contents of the black soldier fly Hermetia illucens. Physiological Entomology 0.
When I read studies such as this one, I often wonder how companies that work with highly variable food waste overcome this hurdle of variable nutrients result in variable BSF larval output. I would imagine they have set the basic parameters of the nutrient description in their products at minimums so as to meet country/regional regulations. But, I would also think such variability, if it exists, impacts who will use their products- especially poultry or fish producers as they tend to be very specific with their nutritional requirements for their mass production facilities. Regardless, the take-home message is: pay attention to what you feed your larvae as it will impact their development and production.
Insects in the News!
Insects as Food- a discussion with Professor Arnold van Huis. A general article about insects as food but it also expands into mass production and the associated challenges.
Edible Insect Festival. My friend and colleague, Joseph Yoon is back in the news. He does such a great job for the industry with spreading the word on insects a real food source that can be quite elegant when prepared by a skilled chef.
BioMar sees Potential of Insects as Feed. A short story on the work done by BioMar to develop insects as fish feed.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Proud Advisor
As you noted, there is a question in my title- I wanted to draw your attention to the regulations currently implemented in the European Union (EU) on the use of BSF as a feed (I'm savvy like that).
Today, I am presenting a paper by my colleagues and friends in the Netherlands. The aim of the paper was to evaluate literature published up to 2017 on the use of BSF to convert materials to protein. They also present current legal status of insect-feeding options in the EU. So, if you are interested in mass production of BSF and selling your product in the EU- this article is a definitely a great resource.
The basic conclusion from this article is the use of BSF to recycle wastes can be beneficial to the environment. The recycling of waste materials reduces potential pollutants; however, this benefit was dependent on what was being fed to the BSF larvae.
The authors present a number of valuable tables outlining the studies reviewed. These tables include, but are not limited to, dry matter reduction based on resource, nitrogen reduction based on resource, environmental impact as related to global warming potential (GWP), energy use to produce, and a comparison with traditional feeds, such as soybean meal and fishmeal.
Bosch, G., H. H. E. van Zanten, A. Zamprogna, M. Veenenbos, N. P. Meijer, H. J. van der Fels-Klerx, and J. J. A. van Loon. 2019. Conversion of organic resources by black soldier fly larvae: Legislation, efficiency and environmental impact. Journal of Cleaner Production 222: 355-363.
Insects as Food and Feed in the News!! I thought I would try this small addition to the blog a few more weeks. If well received, I will continue doing so.
Edible insects' boost food sustainability, but will consumers eat BBQ-flavored bugs? Nice article out of UK, I believe, discussing the benefits of insects as food. Pay attention- at the bottom of the article is a link to a more in-depth discussion of the topic.
Insects: The Other (other) White Meat? I enjoyed this article a lot. First, it made a reference to the Philip K. Dick classic book adapted to film, Bladerunner (although they referenced the sequel... but I understand why). And second, the author presents a case that insects as food is not as crazy as it sounds when you consider what other interesting items people consume fairly regularly... well.. some of them anyway (font in maroon for the one I suspect is the lead item consumed):
Business Article on AgriProtein out of South Africa. A nice article highlighting the successes of AgriProtein- worth the read... images are pretty cool!
Global Economy, an Example: Jiminy & Ento Work Together to Produce Crickets as Food. A nice read about two companies worlds apart working together. This article has some nice photos as well.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Sci-Fi enthusiast (you should definitely read Philip K. Dick)
Increasing Black Soldier Fly Egg Production along with a New Section Added to the Blog- Insects in the News
As you know, through this blog I have been reviewing the literature published on the black soldier fly. Initially, I focused on the older literature from the late 20th century (yes, I phrased it that way to make it seem like it was a life-time ago) and more recently I have been posting literature as it is published.
Well, I plan to continue doing so- discussing the literature; but, I wanted to add a new section.... something that I would like to have as a weekly occurrence- "insects in the news". The point of this new section is to give you something a little more "light" in terms of reading, or listening in some cases, in combination with the more dense science articles. Of course, the frequency of my posting on such topics will depend on the frequency in which such information is discussed in the news. So, in order for me to be comprehensive I am going to depend on you- the reader. Please feel free to send me anything on insects as food and feed that you come across. You can send it to me through the EVO facebook page or this blog. If I see it, I will discuss it here.
Focus Article This week:
Bertinetti, C., A. C. Samayoa, and S.-Y. Hwang. 2019. Effects of feeding adults of Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) on longevity, oviposition, and egg hatchability: Insights into optimizing egg production. J Insect Sci 19.
Interesting article focused on feeding adults to increase production. The authors provided adult BSF with different substrates (e.g., milk powder mixed with water- think porridge) to determine the impact on egg production. Based on their results, they increased egg production 3X!!! Also, it should be noted, hatch rate remained relatively constant across treatments. So yes, they increased egg production without sacrificing hatch rate. I have tried to replicate their results with little success to date- however, I plan to continue working with the system to determine if I can get similar results.
If this system proves true- what a great opportunity for optimizing BSF production! Because as we all know, egg production and hatch rate are major bottlenecks with BSF production.
Insects in the News!
Organic Certification of Insects Farms: Feed as an Issue lays out support through the organization, International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF). I have been impressed with the streamlined, efficient, and focused approach IPIFF has taken to developing the insects as food and feed industry. However, while the title indicates international, I am curious as to how their position reflects global interests in the industry as it appears to be more of an European Union perspective. Maybe their name should be the EUPIFF? I digress... I should be discussing the article, right? The article lays out three interesting components of insect farming as related to the topic.
Food Mondays: Are Insects the Food of the Future? This is a radio show out of Chicago. If you have 15 minutes- it's worth a listen. The topic is much more broad than BSF- as they discuss crickets as well. Pretty good show. I enjoyed it.
8 Insect-Based Pet Food and Animal Feed Startups. Definitely an interesting read- many of the top companies globally are discussed in the summary. The authors point out the volatility of the industry but also recognize the potential for the industry to solidify itself globally. Great to see Beta Hatch out of the USA made the list!
The Explosion of Insect Protein. A great read about the basic drivers of the insects as food and feed industry. For anyone that is aware of the global need for protein while protecting the environment- worth the few minutes investment to read the article. Hats off to EXO and Chapul for being part of the discussion.
Add Crunch to to Purdue Spring Fest. I enjoyed reading this article for a couple of reasons- yes, insects as food is cool. But,I really like the out-reach approach to educating others on the use of insects as food and feed. My hope is all companies in the industry develop an outreach arm of their business. Educate the public and create customer demand... Even better, invest in the education of our youth and future customers will be established. As a side note- I like reading articles about my good friends and colleagues, Joseph Yoon of Brooklyn Bugs, and Andrea Liceaga of Purdue University.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, experimenter with blogging
Shotgun Announcement: Black Soldier Fly as Feed for Quail and Swine, BSF Digestion of Cellulose, and Continued Expansion of Research Globally
Lots of papers have recently come out on BSF.... here are the highlights (Think David Letterman top ten list but not 10 items... just 5 items).
1. BSF at 10% inclusion can be used as quail feed!! Yes- it works. :) Could be something of interest to the quail industry in the southern USA where quail (if same species) are produced in colony.
Hermetia illucens larvae reared on different substrates in broiler quail diets: effect on apparent digestibility, feed-choice and growth performance
2. BSF at 10% inclusion can be used as swine feed!! Supports previous research published on this topic many decades ago.
Partially defatted black soldier fly larva meal inclusion in piglet diets: effects on the growth performance, nutrient digestibility, blood profile, gut morphology and histological features
3. Here is another paper discussing the ability of BSF to digest cellulose (which is huge- but needs more work to determine efficiency and how to optimize the process).
Rehman, K. u., R. Ur Rehman, A. A. Somroo, M. Cai, L. Zheng, X. Xiao, A. Ur Rehman, A. Rehman, J. K. Tomberlin, Z. Yu, and J. Zhang. 2019. Enhanced bioconversion of dairy and chicken manure by the interaction of exogenous bacteria and black soldier fly larvae. J Environ Manage 237: 75-83.
4. BSF can be used to digestion food waste in Ghana. Something to keep in mind- when dealing with "food waste", it would be good to be as quantitative as possible with regards to defining the food waste- what is it? What is its composition?
Development of Black Soldier Fly, Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) in Selected Organic Market Waste Fractions in Accra, Ghana
5. Not BSF-related but pretty cool study on composting aquaculture waste- I thought you might find it interesting.
Composting as a strategy to recycle aquatic animal waste: Case study of a research centre in São Paulo State, Brazil
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Presenter of cornucopia of research topics
Diversity of Black Soldier Fly-Based Products Continues: Rabbit Feed, Bio-lubricants, and Bio-diesel
I was reviewing recent citations on the BSF and came across two unique articles examining uses of BSF-related materials beyond what has been traditionally discussed in the literature.
My first response was- "I cannot make this stuff up!" (pretty exciting)....
My second thought was.. "Well, I know what my topic of discussion will be this week." (very fortunate- the blog sorta writes itself... maybe Google is the puppet master organizing the blog for me)... with that said- I would think Google would love the BSF concept as related to waste management, sustainability, and protein production (anyone have some connections with Google they are willing to share with me? I will gladly reach out to them! :)
And my third thought was, "These papers are refreshing as they present novel uses of BSF."
Now that you know what I was thinking when I read the papers- here we go!
The first paper, out of my friend and colleague's lab in Italy, examined the use of BSF and mealworm fat as a replacement for soybean oil in rabbit feed. They had multiple diets comprised of different amounts of insect oil in the diet (in place of the soy oil)- the good news- criteria measured were not significantly different from the control. Has anyone considered developing the rabbit feed market? Seems like a smaller market that might be attainable with regards to supply/demand.
Gasco, L., S. Dabbou, A. Trocino, G. Xiccato, M. T. Capucchio, I. Biasato, D. Dezzutto, M. Birolo, M. Meneguz, A. Schiavone, and F. Gai. 2019. Effect of dietary supplementation with insect fats on growth performance, digestive efficiency and health of rabbits. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology 10: 4.
The second study determined the oil extracted from BSF could be a potential use as a bio-lubricant or bio-diesel. Of course, the bioenergy topic has been covered in a few papers over the course of the past five years or so- but the idea of bio-lubricants... fairly original. On the surface, this focus might not seem that exciting. But, I think you should consider the research topics reviewed here and other places online. The topics typically fall into a few areas- which translates into a limited number of products being produced from BSF. So, I like the idea that researchers are diversifying the applications of BSF as diversity leads to stability and opportunity for researchers and industry alike.
A Protein-Based Material from a New Approach Using Whole Defatted Larvae, and Its Interaction with Moisture
I hope you enjoy the articles... and that you have a great weekend!!
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, Director, Glad Spring has arrived in Texas, USA!!!
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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