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Turning Black into Golden Soldier Fly Larvae (Hermetia illucens): added value creation by exploring its microbiota and metabolism


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As insect production is a novel branch of agriculture, it is up to (academic) researchers to gather the same level of in-depth knowledge that is available for conventional live stock on production safety and optimization. For example, the impact of the chemical and microbial composition of the feed on the zootechnical performance and on the microbial safety of black soldier fly larvae is virtually unknown.

ENTOBIOTA aims to generate more fundamental knowledge that could support the insect sector, legislation and the co-emerging food value chain to remove legislative and technical hurdles in rearing and valorisation. More specifically, we will explore the hardly investigated interactions between black soldier fly larvae, their substrate and their gut microbiota. Such interactions are expected to depend on the substrate and affect (i) the growth of the larvae, (ii) their microbial safety, and (iii) their chemical safety.

The overall goal of this project is

  1. to define and characterize a set of microorganisms that can be used to manipulate the gut microbiota of black soldier fly larvae in order to boost its performance in each of the three aforementioned domainsĀ 
  2. increase their economic value.


The project is coordinated by KU Leuven, Lab4Food. Partners are UAntwerp, Thomas More Kempen and Inagro. The project is guided by a user group of companies (insect breeders, feed producers, pharmaceutical companies,...) and institutes.

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