Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae for faecal sludge reduction - research in South Africa (with the company Agriprotein)
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TOPIC: Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae for faecal sludge reduction - research in South Africa (with the company Agriprotein)

write-up from webinar 6 - black soldier fly research by Ian Banks 14 Mar 2014 15:10 #7800

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Dear all,

This is my write-up of a presentation at the sixth SuSanA-SEI webinar:
For the benefit of readers with slow internet connection (or unable to view Youtube videos), I am providing you here with a write-up of the presentation by Ian Banks and the discussion on 25 February 2014 during webinar number 6 (*).

The topic of his presentation was:

When flies are the good guys: can black soldier flies (BSF) efficiently reduce faecal sludge from pit latrines? Research into variations in BSF growth related to the amount of waste reduced


By Ian Banks, LSHTM (PhD student, Department of Disease Control, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), London, UK

You can watch Ian's presentation here (it is 8 minutes long): (**)



Powerpoint slides from his presentation are available here:

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We had such a rich and detailed discussion that I won't put it all in one post but rather break it up in several posts (it's taking me ages to write it all out because it was so much and also the topic was quite new for me, so I had to listen to the recording several times to understand it all; but I think it is worth it).

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Frankfurt, Germany
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Last Edit: 17 Mar 2014 15:05 by muench.

Re: write-up from webinar 6 - black soldier fly research by Ian Banks 14 Mar 2014 15:12 #7801

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We also used the chat function during this webinar, as that was actually more efficient and faster. Due to the fact that the chat was recorded, it makes it easy for me: I just copy the chat recording below (I have asked the people concerned, i.e. the participants, and they agreed with this):

++++++++++++++++++++++

  • Mark Hordern: why soldier fly lave rather than something else, i.e. worms?
  • Andrew Jones: Hi Mark, I'm working with BSFL as well. BSFL are very quick in their processing capabilities. Worms however take a long time to break down material and are more finicky with their environment (pH, temperature, moisture content...etc.

  • Ofosu Budu: What is the best feed for the BSF?
  • Andrew Jones: They prefer non fibrous materials. For instance, when fed a tomato they will eat all of the tomatoe except the thin skin. As for the best composition of feed, there have been multiple studies regarding optimal feeding rates. Ian could tell you more on optimal feeding rates of fecal sludge
  • Ofosu Budu: will the BSF take waste from restaurant also?
  • Andrew Jones: Ofosu, yes! They would love that. the only thing to consider is that they do ont take kindly to a high meat content

  • Ofosu Budu: Andrew Jones or Ian Banks- Are there problems with mating and egg laying by the BSF? Do they prefer a particular environmental factors to promote matings and egg laying?
  • Andrew Jones: Yes, I currently am having a lot of difficulty mating BSF adults indoors. They need a specific amount of Lux (lumens per square meter), temperature and humidity
  • Andrew Jones: Ofosu, I have more resources that I could pass on to you. My email is xxx
  • Ian J. Banks: Hi Andrew, sorry I should have said that they were being raised indoors but with natural light
  • Andrew Jones: Thank you
  • Ofosu Budu: @Andrew Jones. Many thanks my email address is xxx
  • Andrew Jones: Ian, Is the weather viable to raise them outside year round, even if it would not be as optimal?
  • Ian J. Banks: Andrew, not in the Western Cape, it has a very seasonal weather system, cold wet winters and warm summers. Other regions of SA would be suitable though.

  • Jos van der Ent: @Ian Banks: Are the black soldier flies larvae facing competition of other species, e.g. house flies. Do you have specific ways of selecting the black soldier flies?

  • Fredrick: Ian: Where did you get the BSF from? What happens after they feed on the sludge?
  • Fredrick: Ian J. Banks: my questions: BSF origin and what happens to them after hearty meals.
  • Ian J. Banks: @Fredrick, BSF originate in the southern states of the USA, but have spread all over the world due to transportation of goods. They are not a disease spreading species, and non-nuisance too so people do not really notice them
  • Fredrick: Thanks Ian. The approach is certainly promising. Keep us posted.

  • Andrew Jones: Awesome, how has the public received this type of treatment? Are there any cultural/social stigmas that would prohibit this type of treatments in rural communities?
  • Ian J. Banks: @Andrew, there is still work to be conducted on public perception, although there is some reports that people could be more open to the idea if it improves egg/meat production etc.

  • Ofosu Budu: @Andrews or Banks. To what extent will the BSF take municipal solid waste as feed for growth?
  • Andrew Jones: Ofosu, I can't comment on MOW (municipal organic waste) but I can say that they process animal waste with no problem whatsoever. Ian could comment more specifically for MOW
  • Ian J. Banks: Hi Ofosu, I recommend asking Stefan (Diener), as he is the expert in MOW
  • Ian J. Banks: I can say that BSF grow well on MOW

  • Ofosu Budu: @Andrews. How do you expect BSF to feed on waste mixed with biochar?
  • Ian J. Banks: Why would you mix with biochar?
  • Andrew Jones: @ofosum what would be the point? Are you thinking for smell reduction? I have not tried feeding a mixture including biochar,
  • Ofosu Budu: @Andrew. Yes to reduce odour and nutrient losses
  • Andrew Jones: I think it might help with odor at the very least. I don't think BSF would be affected by it very much, they can handle a wide variety of environments and worst case they would eat around it
  • Ian J. Banks: @ Andrew, I agree, it is hard to stop these guys eating!

  • Andrew Jones: @Ian, I'll follow up on my previous email very soon. I have some questions regarding how to set up my experiment and I'd like to run some basic design parameters by you.
  • Ian J. Banks: @ Andrew, sure thing, will be happy to help as much as I can

  • Carol McCreary: @Ian What about acquisition and use of BSF in USA for food composting? Feasible?
  • Andrew Jones: yes
  • Andrew Jones: It’s currently being looked into
  • Andrew Jones: Check Enviroflight and Green Waste Technologies
  • Andrew Jones: http: //www.enviroflight.net/
  • Ian J. Banks: @ Carol, Andrew will have more info,
  • Andrew Jones: grnwt.com/
  • Ian J. Banks: @Carol & Andrew, it is definitely feasible, but I am unsure about the legislation in the USA, can you enlight Andrew?
  • Andrew Jones: I believe that both are still in piloting phases, but it looks promising and Enviroflight has worked on reducing losses to nutrient content of the residue through VOC's
  • Carol McCreary: Thank you, Andrew, I did speak with Radu Popa and visit lab at Portland State University.
  • Andrew Jones: There are no restrictions that I am aware of for feeding BSFL to poultry and swine and they are being looked into for various aquaculture applications. The legislation that would be an issue here in the US would all be related to BSFL raised on MOW or feces

+++++++++++
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Frankfurt, Germany
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Twitter: @EvMuench
Website: www.ostella.de
Member of SuSanA (www.susana.org)
Last Edit: 14 Mar 2014 15:14 by muench.

Re: write-up from webinar 6 - black soldier fly research by Ian Banks 14 Mar 2014 17:55 #7805

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Further discussion points from Ian's presentation at webinar 6 are summarised in this post. You can listen to in this video here at this point (until 7:13):

youtu.be/dKE7OSz5VKM?t=0m20s

(I must admit that I didn't fully understand the answers to questions 1 and 2, maybe this could be clarified by Ian in a reply posting)

(1)

Andrew Jones: What size of the containers were you working with (surface area and volume)? Depth and surface area?

Ian’s answer: The smallest containers were getting 140 g of food per week, and it was a matter of getting the feeding depth standardised. So I fed them at 5 cm depth and then moved the divider out. The biggest containers were getting 1.6 kg of feed per week – they were big enough for 4-5 weeks’ worth of feeding (those ones there were a large amount of residue left over). The biggest containers were 2 foot by 1 foot long.

Question by Andrew: so is the depth is more important than the surface area?
Answer by Ian: So - we couldn't standardise both depth and surface area, because there were 27 combinations already – but this will be looked into in the future.


(2)
Question by Stefan Diener (here in the video youtu.be/dKE7OSz5VKM?t=2m04s): About the experimental set-up: Could the fact that you fed them only once per week might have had an influence on your observed low waste reduction ratio? You had a lot really fat larvae but the waste reduction was not that good. Could this be connected to this enormous amount of feed you fed them at the one time?

Ian’s answer: Yes, the feeding rates with the larval density... – it’s exponential. If you have 1200 larvae with the higher feeding rate, you get twice the amount of material… We know that 100 mg per larvae per day (with municipal organic waste) is most efficient. We tried to determine the extremities of the effectiveness with waste reduction and pupae production. We knew that the 1.6 kg per week would be too much, but we wanted to determine how much waste would be left over with that.

Stefan said: I made the experience that if you feed them on a regular basis (e.g. daily), they will be able to feed on the surface of the material; but if you feed them a lot of waste in one go, then they “drown” underneath the thick package of the feed/waste and the upper layer builds up an impermeable layer where they have difficulties to feed on it.

Ian's answer: Yes, and that was one of the things with the moisture content. With the 65% moisture in the feed (waste) they were able to burrow through it and the tunnels they dug would keep their shape. At 75-85% moisture the larvae stayed on the top of the feed layer, moving around constantly until they had dried it out enough to get down… But a week later they got another load of food. So I felt sorry for them...

(3)
Andrew Jones: Did you experiment with getting BSF to mate indoors or can they mate outdoors all year around in South Africa?

Ian’s answer: I am not sure how much I can say here about this as it’s proprietory technology (but yes, they were reared indoors – see also chat below).

In the chat the following was said about this topic:

  • Ofosu Budu: Andrew Jones or Ian Banks- Are there problems with mating and egg laying by the BSF? Do they prefer a particular environmental factors to promote matings and egg laying?

  • Andrew Jones: Yes, I currently am having a lot of difficulty mating BSF adults indoors. They need a specific amount of Lux (lumens per square meter), temperature and humidity

  • Andrew Jones: Ofosu, I have more resources that I could pass on to you. My email is xxx

  • Ian J. Banks: Hi Andrew, sorry I should have said that they were being raised indoors but with natural light


  • (4)
    Question by Carol: You mention that the pit contents was dry – how come? Because the latrines are no longer in use? Or were they urine-diversion dry toilets?

    Ian’s answer: No, they were not UDDTs, but self-built pit latrines; the area that I collected in had a really low water table and the pits themselves were very dry (when I emptied it and homogenised it all together, it was 65% moisture content in the faecal sludge). For comparison: when working in Eastern Cape later I struggled to find pits that were not flooded or water-logged.


    I will do one more post later with the aim to summarise what Ian told us together with his powerpoint slides.
    It really is amazing how much content we covered in this webinar in only 20 minutes or so...

    +++++++++
    If you have follow-up questions or want to correct anything that I wrote, please feel free to do so in this thread.
    (Kris I saw your question about aquaculture above my post, sorry it is now "wedged" in my two long posts but we will not loose it)

    Regards,
    Elisabeth
    Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
    Independent consultant
    Frankfurt, Germany
    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
    Twitter: @EvMuench
    Website: www.ostella.de
    Member of SuSanA (www.susana.org)
    Last Edit: 14 Mar 2014 18:01 by muench.

    Re: Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae for faecal sludge reduction - research in South Africa (with the company Agriprotein) 17 Mar 2014 14:45 #7851

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    Note: the discussion on legal aspects regarding BSF larvae as feed to farmed animails is now in a separate thread here:
    forum.susana.org/forum/categories/91-pro...d-for-farmed-animals

    Just to complete my effort to make everything available for people who cannot access Youtube, here is some additional information which Ian said verbally while presentation at the webinar (should be read in conjunction which his presentation which I attach again below).

    Some key points from his presentation according to my notes:

    • Several objectives in his PhD thesis – in this presentation focusing on one objective of his PhD, namely looking at 3 variables: feeding rates, larval densities, and feed moisture contents; and looking at what effects they have on waste reduction by black soldier fly larvae.
    • This work was conducted in South Africa (Western Cape) with Stellenbosch University and Agroprotein and Biocycle.
    • The insect called black soldier fly (BSF) is found all around the world, in the tropical regions. Unlike the house fly they are a non pest species and don't spread disease
    • The focus is on their larval stage and prepupal stage. Prepupae is the final larval stage - 6th larval stage, before immobile pupal stage.
    • Larvae consume almost any organic material, they are verocious feeders – they can grow up to 10,000 times their body weight in a matter of weeks!
    • Value of the prepupae is that they are very high in fat and in protein. Research has shown that when fed on animal waste or municipal organic waste they can be grown to be a replacement for conventional protein and fats, such as in fish meal.
    • The experiments looked at 3 different variables: feeding rates, larval densities, and feed moisture contents.
    • The experiments had 3 different levels of each of the variables.
    • Combined all of them, leading to 27 different combinations.
    • Because of feeding rate and larvae density interactions, this meant that the larvae got fed either 140 g of pit latrine material per week or up to 1.6 kg of pit latrine material per week.
    • Larvae was fed once every week about 4 weeks long (until they developed into prepupae, which took about 4 weeks). - This was questioned by Stefan Diener, see my previous post: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/91-pro...12&start=12#7805
    • Ian selected suitable pit latrines in an informal settlement in South Africa: should be fairly "solid" pit waste, pit should be accessible.
    • Removed top mound of pit material and took it to laboratory.
    • In the laboratory it was mixed together, removing garbage and increased moisture content if necessary for experiments at 75 or 85% moisture.
    • So the experimental setup consisted of lots of different containers, to which pit material was added.
    • Containers were paired: one with larvae which was 6 days old ("treatment"), one without larvae ("control").
    • Stored at experimental room at 27 deg C, 80% rel. humidity.
    • Containers and larvae were weighed every 3 days, and every 7th day fed more food (1 weeks’ worth of food in one go).
    • Containers were designed so that a divider could be moved to ensure that the height of feeding material was always the same. (this part I didn't understand - why "height"?)
    • Very little waste reduction observed in the controls (just due to dehydration and microbial activities) - as expected.
    • Containers with larvae added had higher waste reduction than in the controls (as expected).
    • The combination of lower number of larvae and low feeding rate resulted in high amount of waste reduced; but prepupae ended up relatively small.
    • Slide 8: Waste reduction in the blue bars (highest on the left to lowest on the right); Moisture content was taken out of the analysis here, because it was not so significant as a parameter compared to the other two variables.
    • High waste reduction gave low prepupae biomass and vice versa (high biomass gave low waste reduction).
    • People will want something in the middle: they will want adequate waste reduction and good quantity of prepupae (therefore providing a value to your process).
    • Future work: Further analysis (his PhD thesis is planned to be submitted in May); need to work on methods of processing the prepupae to make sure they are safe to be fed to animals; looking at heavy metal bio-accumulation in the prepupae.

    Hope you found this write-up useful. If you are interested in this topic, please ensure you watch Ian's presentation and the discussion on Youtube if your bandwidth and country allows it (as per the links given above in this thread).

    Follow up questions or comments are welcome, as always.

    Regards,
    Elisabeth
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    Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
    Independent consultant
    Frankfurt, Germany
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    Twitter: @EvMuench
    Website: www.ostella.de
    Member of SuSanA (www.susana.org)
    Last Edit: 26 Mar 2014 12:39 by muench.

    Re: Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae for faecal sludge reduction - research in South Africa (with the company Agriprotein) 17 Mar 2014 15:14 #7852

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    muench wrote:

  • High waste reduction gave low prepupae biomass and vice versa (high biomass gave low waste reduction).

  • People will want something in the middle: they will want adequate waste reduction and good quantity of prepupae (therefore providing a value to your process).


  • This sounds a bit strange. Why does "eating" more waste result in less insect biomass? Or does it refer to the individual size and weight of a prepupae, i.e. that larger more fatty ones are of higher value? Edit: ok the slides explained that the latter seems to be the case but then again contradicts itself on the next slide by stating that there are also less prepupae.
    Edit2: ahh the total amount of feed was different, so basically the BSF were under/over fed. I am thus not sure if the above conclusion is really accurate.

    Edit3: ok to clarify: I think the above conclusion (as quoted by Elizabeth from the slides) is factual correct but very misleading/confusing. If I understood correctly the result was that while near starving the maggots leads to the highest reduction in waste, the resulting prepupae biomass was obviously lower in quantity and quality. Overfeeding on the other hand resulted in happy maggots, but they just couldn't eat all (also kind of obvious).
    Krischan Makowka
    Technical Adviser at the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET)
    www.uwasnet.org
    Last Edit: 17 Mar 2014 20:14 by JKMakowka.

    Re: Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae for faecal sludge reduction - research in South Africa (with the company Agriprotein) 20 Mar 2014 09:14 #7904

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    Similar intervention with a breeding program for earthworms in Uganda:
    www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Makerere...ordggvz/-/index.html

    I guess they will not suite themselves to live in fresh fecal sludge though.
    Krischan Makowka
    Technical Adviser at the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET)
    www.uwasnet.org

    Re: Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) as a product from productive sanitation and for faecal sludge management 23 Apr 2014 21:09 #8307

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    I am extremely interested in starting a small scale BSF farm, with the hopes of growing into a large scale operation for our community. Thank you for your post, and please send me more information on how to start. I am hung up on the details of where to start, and what regulations/permitting demands there are for urban areas. I live in the Central Florida/USA area.

    Re: Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae for faecal sludge reduction - research in South Africa (with the company Agriprotein) 24 Apr 2014 14:25 #8317

    • stevensugden
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    Hi to Ian and Cobus,

    Its good to see the BSF process thriving. They are certainly fascinating wee little beasties.

    We are interested in setting up BSF colonies in Uganda and India and I also think that this may be the most difficult part of the process. Can you provide your top 10 tips on setting up a colony - size of breeding cage, food, egg traps, numbers, humidity, etc

    Steven

    Re: Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae for faecal sludge reduction - research in South Africa (with the company Agriprotein) 25 Apr 2014 09:25 #8328

    • muench
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    Dear Alisha and Steve,

    I hope Ian, Cobus or any other BSF experts will answer your questions here on the forum soon (I have alerted them both to it).

    In the meantime, I came across this other blog + forum that is dedicated to Black Soldier Fly stuff (not specifically for faeces, more for green kitchen and garden waste):
    blacksoldierflyblog.com/forum/index.php

    The forum is quite nicely set up, it includes sections on basic questions and trouble shooting.
    They have nearly 600 members, most of them from the US (e.g. Texas, Florida), but also from all over the world.

    Billy (forum.susana.org/forum/profile/userid-3663) has written on both forums and has helped to connect them to us and vice versa:
    blacksoldierflyblog.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=687
    (thanks for that, Billy)

    If you find answers to your questions there, please feel free to also post them here so that the two forums can cross-fertilise each other.

    Regards,
    Elisabeth

    P.S. To all: If you see any features on this, or someone else's, forum that you find interesting, please bring them to our attention. E.g. I noticed their link to "view unanswered posts" which can be handy:
    blacksoldierflyblog.com/forum/search.php?search_id=unanswered
    Actually we have that, too, but it's a bit hidden:
    forum.susana.org/forum/statistics?task=5
    Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
    Independent consultant
    Frankfurt, Germany
    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
    Twitter: @EvMuench
    Website: www.ostella.de
    Member of SuSanA (www.susana.org)
    Last Edit: 25 Apr 2014 09:30 by muench.

    Re: Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae for faecal sludge reduction - research in South Africa (with the company Agriprotein) 11 Aug 2014 14:17 #9697

    • MRonteltap
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    Dear Cobus, could you please get in touch with me or send me your email address? I'll be in town with 25 highly interested Faecal Sludge Short Course people in October this year, and we'd love to come visit!

    Thanks in advance..!!
    All the best from Delft,
    Mariska Ronteltap.

    Dr.ir. Mariska Ronteltap
    Senior Lecturer in Sanitary Engineering
    Environmental Engineering and Water Technology Department
    UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
    Westvest 7, 2611 AX Delft, The Netherlands
    T: +31 15 215 1767 | E: m.ronteltap@unesco-ihe.org
    NB. Not in the office on Thursdays

    www.unesco-ihe.org/faecal-sludge-management-0
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