Two members of the Kretsloppsteknik’s BSF group will attend the INSECTA 2023 conference in Magdeburg, Germany, which is being organized by Pilot Pflanzenöltechnologie Magdeburg e.V. (PPM), on September 13-14th. Ivã Guidini Lopes and the PhD candidate Lovisa Lindberg will be presenting two ongoing studies on the topic of organic waste treatment with BSF larvae. Ivã will hold an oral presentation regarding the inactivation of pathogens by BSF larvae in a large-scale setting, entitled “Safety assessment of black soldier fly larvae reared on food waste” and Lovisa will present her recent findings on the bioconversion of greenhouse waste with BSF larvae, also as an oral presentation entitled “Practical adjustments in fly larvae composting when treating plant-based waste”. The complete program for the conference can be accessed by clicking here.
We are once again partnering up with a number of stakeholders all through the food production chain, from producers of residual streams, to insect producers, feed producers and farmers to wholesalers in the project The feed of the future for fish, pigs, poultry and laying hens (Framtidens foder för fågel fisk och fläsk, 5F), partially finansed by Vinnova. The project will test and evaluate several innovative feed ingredients, including for example insects, mycoprotein, and blue mussels from the Baltic Sea. The goal is to set up production with sales of pigs, fish, poultry, and eggs from laying hens that have been fed a low climate impact feed containing ingredients that benefit biodiversity. The project takes the results further from the pilot Five Tons of Green Fish which proved that it is possible to raise Swedish rainbow salmon with insect-based feed, which has up to 70% lower climate footprint than conventional feed. We will be the insect knowledge hub in the project.t.
We at Kretsloppsteknik are currently giving a hybrid (onsite/online) course on Safe nutrient recycling and management (10 credit) within the
research school Sustainable systems for food, energy and biomaterials (SSFEB). The aim of the course is to give the student knowledge in current waste and wastewater management techniques, with focus on technologies for plant nutrient recovery and reuse. Today, 75% of all biodegradable solid waste is landfilled or dumped and 90% of all wastewater generated is either not treated or only partially treated. In cases when the waste is treated, treatments are not focused on recycling, but rather removal, of plant nutrients, as they can otherwise risk to pollute the environment. If the plant nutrients in the waste and wastewater were collected they could replace 25-50% of the virgin resources used for production of chemical fertilizers used in agriculture. Looking at waste and wastewater as resources is a paradigm shift, and for this shift to happen new technologies and management systems are required. When closing the loop of nutrients there is a risk of recycling unwanted substances as well, e.g. heavy metals and pathogens. Upon completion of the course the student should know the flow of waste and wastewater in society, possible treatment methods for closing the loop of nutrients and the risks associated with closed loop systems, as well as methods for mitigating circulation of unwanted substances.
We are looking for a postdoctoral research fellow for our research in fly larvae composting, with a focus on the hygiene of the process as well as of the larvae and the treatment residue (frass-compost) from the treatment of society’s biodegradable waste. The work will be conducted in close collaboration with researchers and doctoral candidates in the group who work on related issues. The focus is to evaluate the degradation of various biological infectious agents such as bacteria (also spore-forming), bacteriophages and prions. The postdoctoral fellow is expected to pursue the following studies: 1) fate of prions in fly larvae composting; 2) fate of anaerobic spore-forming bacteria in fly larvae composting, and 3) study of mechanisms for killing salmonella in fly larvae composting.
We are very happy to announce that Formas has decided to fund our project Circular economy in feed production by fly larvae composting – risks of accumulation of persistent disease agents in the reuse chain. In this project we will dive back into the hygiene of the black soldier fly larvae composting process, investigating the fate persistent disease agents we have so far not been able to able to study, e.g. scrapie prions and spore-forming bacteria.
We will investigate what happens to disease agents in the BSFL composting process and verify whether they end up in the larvae, the frass or are destroyed/inactivated. We will also try to establish if the known inactivation of selected disease agents (e.g. Salmonella spp.) happens in the passage through the larvae or is due to excretion of antimicrobial peptides. Finally, we will wrap up all collected knowledge in a quantitative risk assessment, in which we focus in particular at the risk of prions. The lack of knowledge to what happens to prions in this process we believe is one major reason that hinders the use of post-consumer food waste as feed substrate to insects.
To increase our joy even more, we were also granted another Formas project, in collaboration with Ecoloop, RagnSells, Tebrito, Johannas stadsodlingar. The aim of the project is to link the lab scale knowledge of the hygiene in insect processing to larger scale settings. We will develop quality control measures and implemented them at commercial facilities in proof-of-concept studies. In addition, the use of a block-chain based digital traceability system in a circular food production chain in which food waste is used as insect substrate will be investigated and a conceptual model designed. Discussions with authorities and certification organs will be maintained throughout the project. Hopefully these two projects can be part of a process in which the regulation on substrates for insects to include real waste substrates and not only food industry waste streams that are currently allowed. Many insect researchers are in agreement: for insects to have a real and sustainable impact on our food systems, they have to be reared on real waste substrates (see excellent comment on the Principles for the responsible use of farmed insects as livestock feed in nature food by Parodi et al (2022)).
In our latest publication Food industry waste – An opportunity for black soldier fly larvae protein production in Tanzania recently published in Science of the Total Environment, we have investigated the potential of food industry waste as substrate for rearing of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL). We first conducted a survey, in which we assessed occurrence of wastes in different food industries in three large cities in Tanzania: Dar-es Salaam, Mwanza and Dodoma. We asked the companies a number of questions related to their current waste management system. Once we had an idea which waste streams that was available, we performed a multi-criteria assessment of the most suitable waste streams for BSFL rearing, taking into both availability (available quantities and potential competing use etcetera) and the physical characteristics of the waste. If you are curious to know which food industries there are, what waste they generate, what they currently do with their waste and which of these waste streams that could be used for BSFL rearing, read our article.