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Study probes black soldier fly diet for Japanese seabass

August 8, 2019  By Ruby Gonzalez

Prof. Yan-hua Huang, center, giving instructions to her graduate students on how to prepare Japanese seabass diets containing defatted black soldier fly larvae meal. (Credit: Yan-hua Huang)

A study in Guangzhou, China concluded that up to 64 per cent of defatted black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) meal can be used as replacement for fishmeal in the diet of juvenile Japanese seabass (Lateolabrax japonicas) without altering growth performance, hepatic and intestinal histomorphology.

“Black soldier fly is a promising insect species to be used in animal feed because the BSFL meal shows an essential amino acid pattern similar to that of fishmeal,” Yan-hua Huang said in a 2019 study titled, “Evaluation of defatted black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens L.) larvae meal as an alternative protein ingredient for juvenile Japanese seabass (Lateolabrax japonicus) diets.”

Huang is a senior scientist at the Institute of Animal Science in the Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Science. She is also the general manager at Guangzhou Fishtech Biotechnology Co., Ltd.

“The processing of black soldier fly larvae into defatted protein-rich meal and oil fractions has become a frequent practice to minimize the variations in biochemical composition and attenuate the risk of lipid oxidation,” the study cited.

Black soldier fly larvae meal could only be used up to 50 per cent replacement, as opposed to 60 per cent of the defatted meal, without influencing growth performance of the fish. This was based on an earlier study done by the same research team.

Defatted black soldier fly larvae meal substitutions were made at 16, 32, 48 and 64 per cent. Increased feed intake was observed in fish fed 48 and 64 per cent substitution, indicating that this alternative protein can improve palatability.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to determine feed intake, growth performance, somatic indexes and nutrient retention of L. japonicus fed (defatted black soldier fly larvae meal),” the study said.

Previous studies done by other groups were on turbot, rainbow trout, Jian carp, Pacific white shrimp and Atlantic salmon.

“So far, the (black soldier fly larvae meal) is a little bit expensive than fish meal because the processing from fresh larvae to larvae meal (drying) is still needed and the cost is high,” Huang told Hatchery International. “However, we are trying our best to address this problem and believe it will be cheaper than fish meal in the near future.”


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