On everyone’s lips: insects for food and feed
2020 March 27
Innovative businesses and a growing body of research have put their eyes on insect-based solutions to produce high-quality feed and food. One of the forerunner species in this trend is the Black Soldier Fly (BSF; Hermetia illucens) – a low maintenance tropical insect capable of efficiently converting organic wastes into insect biomass that mainly consists of protein, fat and chitin. However, the exploitation of insects in western countries is still in its infancy, but an improving legislation as well as scientific advancements support the growing insect industry. By offering hands-on workshops to schools and the public, we aimed at getting people in touch with the BSF to raise awareness about the re valorisation of organic waste and sustainable feed production. Participants were invited to build a take-home BSF rearing system running on their daily occurring household bio-waste. Within these three-week home experiments, citizen scientists successfully collected data on the amount and composition of fed bio-waste, larval development and substrate maturation. Moreover, carrying out the same feeding experiment under different environmental circumstances provided insights in the adaptiveness of the larvae of this fly and will further help to improve rearing conditions.