Relative contributions of egg-associated and substrate-associated microorganisms to black soldier fly larval performance and microbiota

Stijn J.J. Schreven*, Hugo de Vries, Gerben D.A. Hermes, Hauke Smidt, Marcel Dicke, Joop J.A. van Loon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Larvae of the black soldier fly (BSF) can be used to convert organic waste into insect biomass for animal feed. In this process, they interact with microorganisms originating from the substrate, the insect and the environment. The substrate is the main determinant of the larval gut microbiota composition, but inoculation of the substrate with egg-associated bacteria can improve larval performance. We aimed to quantify the relative importance of substrate-associated and egg-associated microorganisms in BSF larval performance, bacterial abundance and bacterial community composition, when larvae were fed with chicken feed or chicken manure. For this, we inactivated substrate-associated microorganisms by autoclaving, or disinfected BSF eggs. Larval survival, weight and proportion of prepupae were determined on day 15. We collected substrate and larval samples on days 0 and 15 and performed 16S rRNA gene-targeted qPCR and amplicon sequencing. In both chicken feed and chicken manure, egg disinfection did not cause any difference in larval performance or overall microbiota composition. In contrast, in chicken manure, substrate-associated microorganisms increased larval biomass and sterilizing the substrate caused major shifts in microbiota. Thus, substrate-associated microorganisms impact not only larval microbiota but also larval performance, whereas egg-associated microorganisms have a minor role in the densities present.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Volume97
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Hermetia illucens
  • 16S rRNA gene
  • amplicon sequencing
  • chicken manure
  • qPCR
  • sterile

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