Studies Continue to Demonstrate Value of Black Soldier Fly as Feed for Fish, Chickens, and..... Dogs?
I am on holiday for the next few days with my family (at the beach getting some sun). But, as my family knows, I have select activities that keep my mind engaged (such as this blog), which is a good thing. Put me in a situation where I do not have anything constructive to do, and I am bound to get into trouble or at minimum aggregate them with requests to "bond" over some outlandish family activity.
So, think of it this way, you reading my blog posts is appreciated by my family as well- not just me. This is a situation where everyone wins. I have fun discussing science with my friends around the world and my family gains a few minutes of peace. Now, moving on to today's discussion...
So, I was reviewing some recent publications on the BSF and took notice of the diversity of products, or I should say applications, being developed with the BSF as an ingredient. And, if I haven't preached enough previously on this topic, well I am going to try and partially fulfill this assessment now.
The insects as food and feed industry (more specifically the feed industry) needs to keep pushing forward on product diversification. Right now, we are seeing the whole insect as the product, but I imagine that eventually BSF will be broken down and sub-components of the BSF will be used as ingredients or sold as simplified products themself.
The analogy I use is with livestock. Historically, the whole animal was sold as the product. But, over time, the animal industry has diversified, and these animals are now broken into 100s of different products, which has increased the industry value as well as demand. Think of it this way, we do not go to the store and buy the whole chicken (e.g., feathers, feet, head, internal organs, etc) but typically only a part of it. We need to do the same with BSF; we need to figure out how to deconstruct the insect. I believe doing so will stabilize the market by diversifying the industry. At the same time, the value of BSF will increase. The sum of the parts is truly greater than the value of the whole as a single unit.
Three articles for you to check out are:
Wang, G., K. Peng, J. Hu, C. Yi, X. Chen, H. Wu, and Y. Huang. 2019. Evaluation of defatted black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens L.) larvae meal as an alternative protein ingredient for juvenile Japanese seabass (Lateolabrax japonicus) diets. Aquaculture 507: 144-154.
Main Point- I believe this is the first paper to look at the use of BSF with Japanese seabass. They determined a 64% replacement of traditional diet with BSF could be achieved without any negative impacts on fish development.
Mwaniki, Z. 2019. Complete replacement of soybean meal with defatted black soldier fly larva meal (BSFLM) in laying hen feeding programs: impact on egg production and quality. MS. Thesis.
Main Point- First and foremost, this is a student's research for their MS. I am always excited to see more individuals recruited to the area of insects as food and feed- especially with BSF. The use of BSF as a diet for poultry once again looks very promising. However, it should be noted that conversion rates were not the greatest. But, I am not sure if the calculations are correct. Maybe someone else can take a look and verify these numbers. Also, the author indicated the liver and pancreas were a bit enlarged- is this an issue? If so, how can it be corrected through diet formulation?
Lei X.J., Kim T.H., Park J.H., Kim I.H. (2019). Evaluation of supplementation of defatted black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae meal in beagle dogs, Annals of Animal Science, DOI: 10.2478/aoas-2019-0021
Main Point-This paper was a challenge for me to read simply because the physiological descriptions presented are a bit above my understanding. What I did gather from the article was the inclusion of BSF did not impact the animal. But, do not take my word for it- check it out for yourself and let me know if I missed anything.
Insects as Food & Feed in the News....
South China Morning Post- one of the better articles I have read online that discusses the insects as food and feed sector.
The Poultry Site- This is a review of IPIFF asking for greater quality assurance measures in insects as food and feed sector. I am reposting this topic as it demonstrates the poultry industry is taking notice of what we all are attempting to accomplish.
Insects as Meat- I am a bit surprised that there are individuals referring to insects as "meat". I caution the adoption of this practice as it will potentially create friction between the insects as food and feed industry with livestock, poultry, and aquaculture. The last thing an industry in its infancy needs is to have such large commodity groups seeing it as a competitor rather than a partner.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Not a Fan of Using Term, "Meat" to Describe Insects
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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