August 26, 2023

Black Soldier Fly: The Beneficial Insect

As I have mentioned in my previous post about Black Soldier Fly, these tiny flyiing creatures are considered beneficial rather than pests. 

Here are some reasons that will answer the question, "How are the Black Soldier Fly become beneficial?"

Each of the stages of the life cycle of the Black Soldier Fly has its benefits but during the larva stage has the most contribution not only in the reduction of organic wastes but in agriculture as well medicine.

Frass is the remians of insect breeding, left-over food, feces and cuticles from metamorphosis of the larva. These hase been considered as fertilizer and a good source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for plants.

Larva Meal
Before turning into a new adult, the larva can be harvested, dried and ground or served as feeding materials to animals. It contains high percentage of protein and crude fat. Because of these high levels of nutrients, it can be used as a substitute for fishmeal and soybean meal as the main source of protein in animal feeds.

However, depending on the subtrate or food given to the larvae, the nutritional values of the larva meal can be affected.

Larva Oil
The protein content of the larva meal can still increase by concentrating the meal. Removal of other nutrients like the high amounts of oil is one way to make larva meal protein concentrate.
The extracted oil can still be used in animal feeds as larva oil. The fatty acid profile of the larva oil is comparable to palm and coconut oil.

Anti-Microbial Peptides
Many will wonder how does the larva thrive in an environment full of decaying organic matters with tons of bacteria and other pathogenic microorganisms and how they manage to digest these organic matters made of protein, fats and oils, and other compounds such as carbohydrates and strach.

The intestinal gut of the Black Soldier Fly Larva contains different enzymes that is used to digest and breakdown complex nutrients into a simple compounds. For example, the protease which can breakdown proteins into peptide andn amino acids. The lipase which is used to degrade oils into simple fatty acids. Starch and cabohydrates will turn into simple sugars with the help of amylase enzyme. 

With regards to the microorganisms, the intestinal gut of the larva contains antimicrobial peptides that are capable of killing different pathogens including E.coli and Salmonella.

Chitosan or Chitin
As the larvae turn into adults, the shell from the pupa stage can be a good source of chitin of chitosan. These compounds are sugar complexes commondly found in the shell or skeleton of crustaceans like shrimps and crabs.

Another question that may be raised is how about the adults, are they vectors of pathogens or harmful microorganisms like the common house flies?

The answer is "NO". An adult fly does not have any mouthparts nor digestive organs. They rely their short life span (about 4-5 days) in water and the stored fats during their larva stage. Because of these, the adult Black Soldier Fly is not associated with disease transmission.

Given the different advantages that we can get from the Balck Soldier Fly, it is truly that these insects are considered beneficial.

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