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Book chapter2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Advances in substrate source composition for rearing black soldier fly larvae as a protein source

Lalander, Cecilia; Guidini Lopes, Ivã


Over the past decade, the black soldier fly (BSF, Hermetia illucens (L.), Diptera: Stratiomyidae) has become one of the most commonly used insects for feed production worldwide (van Huis, 2020). This is primarily due to the wide range of substrates that the larvae can be reared on, along with the high waste-tobiomass conversion efficiency of the larvae (Gold et al., 2018). This versatility of substrate use by fly larvae has made them nature’s own waste managers (Fowles and Nansen, 2020).

With the reported decline in terrestrial insect abundance, questions have emerged regarding the impact this will have on the different ecosystem services they provide (van Klink et al., 2020; Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys, 2019). One of many ecosystem services that insects contribute to is the degradation and recycling of organic matter (Dangles and Casas, 2019) and nutrients (WoelberKastner et al., 2021; Yang and Gratton, 2014). The ability of detritivore insects, such as the BSF, to degrade organic matter and recycle nutrients is one of the main reasons they are of interest not only for feed production but also for waste management purposes (Čičková et al., 2015). During this process, two products are generated: a larval biomass that can be used in animal feed (Lu et al., 2022), and a treatment residue known as frass or entomocompost that can be used as an organic fertilizer or soil amendment (Lopes et al., 2022). As two valuable products are generated in the process, this waste management technology fits well within the concept of a circular economy (Ojha et al., 2020), in which the by-product/waste stream in one process becomes the resource in another (Ellen Macarthur Foundation, 2015).

Published in

Burleigh Dodds Series in Agricultural Science
2024, Title: Insects as alternative sources of protein for food and feed
ISBN: 9781801465847
Publisher: Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing