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Stefan Diener, Christian Zurbrügg and Klement Tockner (2009)

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

Waste Management & Research, 27(6):603-610.

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/m2 and 6.5 kg/m2, 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 m2. 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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