Growth and safety assessment of feed streams for black soldier fly larvae: A case study with aquaculture sludge

Eric Schmitt*, Ikram Belghit, Johan Johansen, Raymond Leushuis, Erik Jan Lock, Diede Melsen, Ram Kathirampatti Ramasamy Shanmugam, Joop Van Loon, Aman Paul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The production of food is an intensive source of environmental impact. In aquaculture, one source of impact is solid waste, which contains high concentrations of minerals, other nutrients, and metals. The larvae of Hermetia illucens are capable of consuming this material, but applying technology that is based on these larvae for managing waste streams, like those from aquaculture, requires careful examination of safety risks. A study is performed examining the growth performance of larvae that were fed on solid aquaculture waste. Subsequently, a thorough analysis of safety risks from inorganics, with detailed the results on microelements that have previously received little attention in the literature, is performed to serve as a guideline for how to assess the safety of waste streams such as these. Findings confirm existing results in the literature that Cd is bioaccumulative, but also that other elements, including Hg, Mn, and especially K, are bioaccumulative. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first research where the accumulation of Ag is also tested. The results of these tests are explained within the context of regulations in various countries where Hermetia illucens is cultivated, serving as a reference for practitioners to rigorously screen out high risk feed streams that they may consider using as feed sources. It is intended that these references and the demonstrated accumulation of a range of elements motivate comprehensive industry safety practices when evaluating new feed sources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number189
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2019


  • Aquaculture
  • Black soldier fly larvae
  • Mineral composition
  • Safety risks
  • Sludge

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