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 (email@example.com).
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
The number of papers exploring the adult behavior/biology of the BSF is extremely limited globally. Predominantly, most work focuses on the the larval development and its uses for waste conversion to protein. This focus is understandable given most industry using this insect for such purposes have made this ability the cornerstone of their operation.
But, as any practitioner (e.g., backyard producer, researcher, or corporation) understands, if an adult BSF colony cannot be maintained and fertile eggs produced at a consistent rate, there will be unpredictability in the system with regards to how much waste can be managed and what to expect with larval output.
I always tell people that have interest this industry that the BSF the colony is the HEARTBEAT of their operation. If it ceases, their larval production also will meet its demise. Because the colony is so important, I have encouraged researchers to explore the biology of adult BSF. My hopes and ambitions are we can remove the variability with regards to fertile egg production and then focus on optimizing production.
With everything I have said, a paper was recently published on the adult behavior of the BSF:
Giunti, G., O. Campolo, F. Laudani, and V. Palmeri. 2018. Male courtship behaviour and potential for female mate choice in the black soldier fly Hermetia illucens L. (Diptera: Stratiomyidae).
I am not sure if you can access it- so I will provide a general synopsis: The authors indicate male same-sex mating attempts are made by BSF held in colony. They also indicate wing-beating is a key aspect of the adult behavior with males exhibiting this behavior when attempting to mate with a female.
Some side notes (outside of the paper) on BSF adult mating behavior:
Always remember that BSF are forced to remain in perpetual lekking (mating) sites. So- why does it matter?
1) Adult males are constantly attempting to mate with females that are, a) not ready to mate, b) already mated and are developing eggs, or c) no longer available as they have laid their eggs.
2) Adult males that have already mated once are most likely still trying to mate with females even though they cannot perform.
3) Adults are not able to regulate their temperature given uniform conditions typically in cages (they only have access to what a producer feels is appropriate). What is best to induce optimal mating, egg fertilization, and oviposition?
4) Cage dimensions are highly variable- more studies are needed outdoors at natural lekking sites. I remember studying such behavior at a poultry farm in Alma, Georgia, USA in 1999. The space and density of flies was quite low when compared to what many producers use. How does forcing a high density impact fertile egg production?
These are just a few thoughts that come to mind with regards to BSF adult biology. But, what this means is currently colony methods are extremely non-biological and thus inefficient.
If anyone is interested in doing adult behavior work- feel free to reach out to me. I truly believe this aspect of the BSF life cycle is sorely understudied but incredibly important for mass production (a paradox of sorts). Someone could really make a name for themselves by researching this aspect of the BSF.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Encourager of Adult BSF research
As always, I like to make sure you all are aware of the productivity of hard-working students throughout the world. This thesis came across my email this past week, and I had a chance to review it this morning (fairly brief- about 30-40 pages of text).
The MS student did a nice job reviewing the nutritional, economic, legal, and marketing challenges associated with the insect-meal industry (for aquaculture in Europe). The obvious points are that insect-meal is still a bit expensive; however, with the industry growing astronomically, the price point (while remaining profitable) should continue.
If you have time and interest- check out this thesis. Nicely done, Florent!
Introducing Insect-Based Salmon Feed: From a Nutritional, Economic, Legal, and Marketing Perspective.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Supporter of Students
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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