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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Dynamics of black soldier fly larvae composting - Impact of substrate properties and rearing conditions on process efficiency

Lopes, Iva Guidini; Wiklicky, Viktoria; Ermolaev, Evgheni; Lalander, Cecilia


Inadequate organic waste management have detrimental impact on the environment and on public health. Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae composting is a biological treatment for biodegradable waste that align with circular economy principles. The bioconversion efficiency of bio-waste into larval biomass is influenced by various factors, such as substrate type and the process parameters employed in the larval rearing process. In this study, the influence of these parameters on survival, material reduction (Mat.Red), waste-to-biomass conversion efficiency (BCE) and larval yield per rearing unit was investigated through two sets of experiments. In Experiment 1, the impact of larval density in five distinct rearing substrates was evaluated, while the effect of larval feed dose and substrate depth was assessed in Experiment 2, using a model substrate (dog food). In Experiment 1 it was found that higher larval density lead to an increase in BCE and larval yield, up to a threshold (around 6.25 larvae cm 2). Surpassing this threshold led to the production of smaller larvae, while the yield remained relatively consistent. In Experiment 2 it was found that supplying the substrate in a shallow layer (1-1.5 cm depth) and providing a low feed dose (0.1 g volatile solids (VS) larva(-1)) led to higher BCE and Mat.Red, albeit with a reduced overall yield per unit. Increasing feed load and substrate depth reduced the conversion efficiency, Mat.Red and larval survival. This study enhances the understanding of the effect of various process parameters used in the BSF larvae treatment, and how they interrelate.


Bioconversion; Bio-waste; Density; Feeding rate; Hermetia illucens

Published in

Waste Management
2023, Volume: 172, pages: 25-32