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.
Several members and PhD students of the ETE department (Environmental Technology) at Wageningen University & Research visited SLU earlier this month. We enjoted several interesting presentations from Miriam van Eekert, Huub Rijnaarts, Cecilia Lalander and Prithvi Simha which were followed by great discussions and a poster session where all PhD students got to showcase their research. We all also got to play a serious game which was facilitated by Jennifer McConville. It was a great day and we really look forward to future collaboration with ETE.
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 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.
I am originally Syrian and moved to Sweden about six years ago. I could not finish my last year of studying biochemistry at the University of Aleppo because of the war there. But with a lot of optimism and self-challenge, I was finally able to return to the bench of scientific research as a second-year student in the pharmaceutical and food technology at Folkuniversitetet in Uppsala, where my studies covers the entire chain of production from idea to product with hygiene requirements, process technology, process chemistry and knowledge of relevant legislation. With the aim to improve the health and quality of life of the population and work with the sustainable nutrition of the future through qualified practical work in medicine and the food industry.
Fortunately and with great happiness I was recently accepted as an intern at SLU ,as a laboratory assistant for two and a half months in a project fly larvae composting, where organic waste is converted into animal feed (fly larvae) and organic fertilizer (treatment residues).
To promote SLU Youth Institute and the advantages for high schools becoming part of it, Viktoria Wiklicky was invited to talk about the Black Soldier Flies in their 2022 launching video. Fly larva composting is a tool to close the loop of a now linear food production system and aims to make food production more circular. Promoting the technology to the next generation will ensure that our passion and our ideas will be continued in the future.
SLU Youth Institute aims to create interest among Swedish youth for global food security and to find sustainable solutions to the global challenges based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The programme was founded 2020 and is part of the many Youth Institutes coordinated by World Food Prize Foundation. High school students engage with local leaders and experts to discuss critical global challenges, participate in hands-on activities, and explore exciting ways to make a difference in Sweden, across Europe and around the world. By the way, also the larvae showed their best side in the spotlight of the cameras and luckily, cameras cannot record smell (yet).