Black Soldier Fly, a future for Tilapia feed?

(aquafeed.co.uk) With the increase of the fishmeal and soybean prices over the last decade, insect proteins have become a focus of research into novel alternative livestock feed ingredients. While several insect species have been investigated, the Black Soldier Fly (BSF; Hermetia illucens) remains one of the most credible options.

BSF, generally considered as a non-pest species, is distributed almost worldwide since the Second World War and is not known to carry any pathogenic agents, unlike the common housefly (Musca domestica).

The larvae can grow quickly and have an excellent feed rate. They can consume 25-500 mg of fresh matter/larva/day and feed on a wide range of substrates ranging from manures to food waste. A grow-out cycle takes 15 days to an average larva weight of 0.25g under optimal conditions (30oC) and the substrate/ waste load reduced by up to 70 percent (dry matter basis). The maggots have also been shown to remove pathogenic bacteria, reduce waste odours and to inhibit nuisance housefly oviposition; all valuable secondary sanitation outcomes.

The larvae have a high nutritional value; contingent on the substrate they were bred on, with crude protein levels ranging from 28 to 48 percent, and lipid levels from 12 to 42 percent. With the exception of omega-3 fatty acid, the lipid profile is broadly similar to fish meal and potential exists to augment fatty acid through the use of an appropriate feeds e.g. fish-offal. The essential amino acid profile of the insect meal meets the broad requirements of tilapias simplifying dietary formulation requirements……..

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