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A feeding experiment was conducted to investigate the impact of feeding defrosted whole black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) to broilers in increasing levels in the ration on blood metabolites, carcass characteristics (CC) and on changes in fatty acid (FA) composition in plasma, muscle and abdominal fat. Day-old chicks (Ross-308; n=252) were assigned to one of four groups each with 6 replicate pens (10-11 birds/pen). The birds were fed either a demand-oriented age-specific control (CON) diet and had no access to BSFL, or fed CON plus BSFL at 10% (L10), 20% (L20) or 30% (L30) of CON feed intake. At weeks (wk) 4 and 6, birds (2 per pen) were slaughtered to collect blood, breast muscle, and abdominal fat samples and to determine CC. Plasma triglyceride concentrations increased in a dose dependent manner with increasing levels of whole BSFL compared with CON (P<0.05). The L30 and L20 had higher plasma non-esterified FA concentrations than CON (P<0.05). There were no differences in slaughter weight and CC between groups (P>0.05). Broilers fed 30% BSFL had the highest saturated FA proportion in plasma, muscle and abdominal fat and the lowest monounsaturated FA proportion in abdominal fat tissue (P<0.05). The levels of total polyunsaturated FA in plasma and abdominal fat were lower in L30 than in CON (P<0.05). In plasma, muscle and abdominal fat, the proportion of conjugated linoleic acid (isomerC18:2cis-9, trans-11) was highest in L30 followed by L20 and L10 compared with CON (P<0.05). Overall, whole BSFL could be included in broiler diets up to 20% to promote sustainability in broiler farming without adverse effects on slaughter weight, meat quality and FA compositions, whereas, the highest inclusion level (i.e. 30%) of whole BSFL in the daily ration was associated with altered FA composition in plasma, fat and meat.

Open Access
In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed


The recycling of minerals is crucial for the future circular agriculture. Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) can accumulate minerals in their body. This study investigated the effects of adding mineral-enriched BSFL, grown on substrates containing sewage sludge recyclates (SSR), to broiler feed to reintroduce minerals from waste streams currently subject to regulatory restrictions back into the nutrient cycle. Feed, nutrient, mineral and heavy metal intake, growth, blood metabolites and immunoglobulins, bone characteristics and mineral status of broilers were studied in response to different mineral-enriched BSFL supplements. Eighty newly-hatched mixed-sex Ross 308 chicks were divided into four groups, with six replicate pens per group. BSFL used in the broiler experiment were grown either on a modified Gainesville fly diet (FD) (L-FD) or on FD supplemented with 4% of sewage sludge biochar (L-BCH), or on the FD supplemented with Single Superphosphate (SSP) SSR (L-SSP). All broilers were fed age-specific diets and either had no access to BSFL (CON) or received 15% of CON birds’ feed intake as defrosted BSFL from three different sources. Inclusion of 15% of mineral-enriched whole BSFL in broiler rations had no adverse effects on growth performance parameters, nutrient intakes, nutrient conversion efficiency, plasma metabolites and immunoglobulins ( P > 0.05 ). Birds in BSFL supply groups had higher serum Ca concentrations than CON birds ( P < 0.05 ). L-BCH supplied birds had a lower serum P than CON birds ( P < 0.05 ). Tibial characteristics and mineral status of birds were not affected by larvae supply ( P > 0.05 ). Heavy metal intake (manganese, iron, zinc, copper, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury) of the birds was not affected by dietary treatments ( P > 0.05 ). In conclusion, 15% of mineral-enriched-BSFL reared on SSP can be included in broiler diets for 42 experimental days without adverse effects on nutrient intakes, growth performance parameters and bone condition.

In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed