Standardisation of quantitative resource conversion studies with black soldier fly larvae

Bosch, G.; Oonincx, D.G.A.B.; Jordan, H.R.; Zhang, J.; Loon, J.J.A. van; Huis, A. van; Tomberlin, Jeffery K.


Using larvae of the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens; BSF) to convert low-value residual organic resources into high-value products like protein-rich animal feed ingredients and biofuel while managing organic waste has developed into a global industry. Considering the associated exponential increase in publications dealing with diet conversion efficiency by BSF larvae, it is timely to suggest procedures to arrive at an improved harmonization and reproducibility among studies. This means establishing protocols for describing the basic experiment design, fly colony origin, rearing procedures, reference and experimental feeding substrates, and sampling preparations including microbiota and chemical analyses. Such standardised protocols are instrumental to allow conversion efficiencies to be calculated. Some of these parameters are relatively easy to describe such as giving the origin and rearing conditions, while others are more challenging (e.g. description of microbe community). In this article we discuss and propose such procedures with the aim to arrive at standardisation of how future resource conversion studies with BSF larvae are conducted and how results are communicated.