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Food Microbiol. 2018 Apr;70:181-191. doi: 10.1016/j.fm.2017.09.012. Epub 2017 Sep 21.

Microbial dynamics during production of lesser mealworms (Alphitobius diaperinus) for human consumption at industrial scale.

Author information

1
KU Leuven, Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems (M(2)S), Lab4Food, Campus Geel, B-2440 Geel, Belgium; KU Leuven, Leuven Food Science and Nutrition Research Centre (LFoRCe), B-3001 Leuven, Belgium.
2
KU Leuven, Leuven Food Science and Nutrition Research Centre (LFoRCe), B-3001 Leuven, Belgium; KU Leuven, Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems (M(2)S), Laboratory for Process Microbial Ecology and Bioinspirational Management (PME&BIM), Campus De Nayer, B-2860 Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium.
3
Proti-Farm R&D B.V., NL-3852 AB Ermelo, The Netherlands.
4
KU Leuven, Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems (M(2)S), Lab4Food, Campus Geel, B-2440 Geel, Belgium; KU Leuven, Leuven Food Science and Nutrition Research Centre (LFoRCe), B-3001 Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address: leen.vancampenhout@kuleuven.be.

Abstract

In this study, the microbial dynamics during an industrial production cyle of lesser mealworms (Alphitobius diaperinus), sold for human consumption, were characterised. The microbial numbers as well as the microbial diversity were generally higher for the substrate, existing of remaining feed, faeces and exuviae, than for the larvae. Most of the species-level operational taxonomic units, identified using Illumina MiSeq sequencing, that were present in the feed were also detected in the larvae and vice versa. However, bacterial diversity decreased in the larvae during rearing. These results suggested that the feed is an important determinant of the insect bacterial community, but that some bacterial species show a competitive advantage inside the insect gut and become dominant. A blanching treatment of the larvae after harvest reduced most microbial counts, but the number of aerobic endospores remained at 4.0 log cfu/g. Whereas food pathogens Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus or coagulase-positive staphylococci were not detected in our study, fungal isolates corresponding to the genera Aspergillus and Fusarium were recovered. Therefore, it cannot be excluded that mycotoxins were present. The results of this study contribute to a better understanding of the microbial dynamics and food safety aspects during the production of edible insects.

KEYWORDS:

Food safety; High-throughput sequencing; Insect rearing; Microbial dynamics

PMID:
29173626
DOI:
10.1016/j.fm.2017.09.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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