The Black Soldier Fly (BSF) or Hermetia illucens, is an introduced species to Australia common to the south-eastern part of the United States. BSF is not recognised as a pest because the adult is not attracted to human habitation or foods they are also non-biting and non-invasive. Recently, insect farming involving BSF larvae is gaining increasing attention. Previous studies have shown that Black Soldier Fly farming can be used to convert food waste to protein, and that the by-product of this is commercially viable.
This is due to BSF larvae showing a high feed conversion efficiency and feed on many waste sources, including animal, slaughterhouse and cropping wastes. Previous studies demonstrate that the BSF farming process significantly decreases the total mass of fresh manure during the larval digestion, reducing the volume of organic waste up to 50 percent. This process also alters the nutrient concentration of the waste product.
Through the digestion, BSF frass provides a more balanced nutrient content and profile compared to the untreated manures, producing high value protein and oil. This by-product is being researched as a potentially suitable as an animal and fish feed, fertiliser and soil improver.
Due to the high cost of treatment and disposal of the wastes (both solid and liquid) produced by on-farm, intensive production and animal processing sectors, this technology is currently being further researched as a waste management tool in Australia. This will convert waste into a potentially valuable by-product, providing not only a low-cost and sustainable waste management solution for the agricultural industry, but an alternate source of profit.
This project, part of the Rural R&D for Profit program is being led by Australian Pork Limited with funding provided by AgriFutures Australia, Australian Eggs, the Australian Meat Processor Corporation, Dairy Australia, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland, the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Future Green Solutions, and the Commonwealth Government.