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Waste Manag Res. 2009 Sep;27(6):603-10. doi: 10.1177/0734242X09103838. Epub 2009 Jun 5.

Conversion of organic material by black soldier fly larvae: establishing optimal feeding rates.

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Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland.


Larvae of the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae), are voracious feeders of organic material and may thus be used in simple engineered systems to reduce organic waste in low- and middle-income countries. Controlled feeding experiments with standard fodder were conducted to assess the optimum amount of organic waste to be added to a CORS system (Conversion of Organic Refuse by Saprophages). A daily feeding rate of 100 mg chicken feed (60% moisture content) per larva resulted in an optimum trade-off between material reduction efficiency (41.8%, SE 0.61) and biomass production (prepupal dry weight: 48.0 mg, SE 2.0). Applied to market waste and human faeces, this corresponds to a potential daily feeding capacity of 3-5 kg/m(2) and 6.5 kg/m(2), respectively. In addition, H. illucens prepupae quality was assessed to determine their suitability to substitute fishmeal in animal feed production. The chitin-corrected crude protein content ranged from 28.2 to 42.5%, depending on the amount of food provided to the larvae. Based on our study, a waste processing unit could yield a daily prepupal biomass of 145 g (dry mass) per m(2). We conclude that larvae of the black soldier fly are potentially capable of converting large amounts of organic waste into protein-rich biomass to substitute fishmeal, thereby contributing to sustainable aquaculture.

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