Viktoria’s visit to Benin


Viktoria just returned from Benin which she visited in October to work together with colleagues from IITA at completing the goals of workpackage I + III in our VR funded project ‘Insect farming for feed production and organic waste management in Benin‘. Together they investigated and sampled waste streams from the south and the north of Benin and worked on improving the Black Soldier Fly colony at IITA, to secure a stable and high production of Black Soldier Fly larvae for future waste treatments. The visit was ended with a fruitful final discussion, where the gained knowledge and experience was shared with the rest of the work groups, both at SLU and IITA.

IITA, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, is a non-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, they aim to improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security while increasing employment, and preserve natural resources.

About the project:

The project is funded by VR (VetenskapsrÄdet) and the objective is for Black Soldier Fly Farming to contribute to solving socio-economic and environmental issues in Benin by reducing the adverse impact of inadequate waste management, while at the same time improving agricultural productivity with locally sourced products.

Formas funding for in depth investigation of hygiene parameters in BSFL 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)).


Hur fÄs högsta vÀrdet ur biologiskt nedbrytbart avfall?


Kommuner förvÀntas tillgodose sina invÄnare med avfallshantering, vilket finansieras med skatteintÀkter och/eller avfallshanteringsavgifter. I mÄnga lÄg-, och medel-inkomstlÀnder kÀmpar kommunerna med att tillgodose en acceptable servicenivÄ och pÄ dessa stÀlle sköter den informella sektorn ofta stora delar av insamlingen och behandlingen av avfallet. Till skillnad frÄn plast-, och metallfraktionerna, sköter inte den informella sektorn om det biologiska nedbrytbara fraktionen; frÀmst för vÀrdet Àr sÄ lÄgt att behandlingen skulle kosta betydligt mer Àn de möjliga inkomsterna. Om den biologiskt nedbrytbara fraktionen kunde omvandlas till produkter av högt vÀrde skulle behandlingen kunna bÀra sin egen kostnad vilket skulle kunna uppmuntra insamlingen och behandlingen av denna fraktion.
I den hÀr studien utvÀrderade och jÀmförde vi det potentiella vÀrdet av produkter som erhölls i fyra olika behandlingsstrategier: termofil kompostering (den vanligaste förekommande behandlingen av det biologiskt nedbrytbara fraktionen globalt), fluglarvskompostering, rötning och fluglarvskompostering följt av rötning. Om ni Àr intresserade av vilken strategi som producerar högst vÀrde, lÀs artikeln vidare hÀr.