Organic Value Recovery Solutions LLC
The Future of Aquafeeds in 2013,
with Black Soldier Fly Prepupae
A Predictive Report Prepared for the
NOAA Aquaculture Programs
NOAA-USDA Alternative Feeds Initiative
D. Craig Sheppard, UGA Emeritus
Gary Burtle, UGA Assoc. Prof.
G. Larry Newton, UGA Assoc. Prof
The Future of Aquafeeds in 2013, Fishmeal Replacement with Black Soldier Fly Prepupae
Craig Sheppard, University of Georgia Entomology, Gary Burtle, University of Georgia Animal and Dairy Science,
Larry Newton, University of Georgia Animal and Dairy Science
Available studies indicate that a complete or partial replacement of fishmeal and fish oil with black soldier fly
(Hermetia illucens L.) prepupae protein and fat will occur rapidly, in the face of decreasing fishmeal supplies. This
will be based on additional research on all aspects of production, processing and utilization of this novel feed.
Feed Efficiency and Growth A replicated study indicated that complete replacement of fishmeal in channel
catfish diets is possible with no decrease in growth or FCR. In rainbow trout a 25% replacement of fishmeal with
prepupae meal gave similar growth. However, 50% replacement resulted in a significant reduction of growth,
indicating a sensitivity to soldier fly prepupae meal at high rates of dietary inclusion. Both of these studies used
whole milled prepupae. Separation of the cuticle (contains chitin) from the protein and fat of the prepupae will
produce a superior feedstuff. A preliminary analysis indicated that cuticle weight is about 24% of the whole
prepupae on a dry matter basis. Removal of this chitinous material will improve performance and increase the
percent of fishmeal that can be replaced in diets for sensitive aquatic animals as well as pay for the cost of removal
by sales of the valuable chitin.
Production Breakthrough Development of large scale production of black soldier fly prepupae will require
scaling up and refinement of already proven systems. After large quantities of prepupae are available, byproducts
from the production of soldier fly prepupae meal will include chitin, fat, protein concentrates and fine chemicals.
Commercial equipment is, or will be available to separate these product streams and markets exist for the
byproducts. By 2013, large scale production of soldier fly prepupae will be located in close proximity to the major
aquaculture producing areas in the nation. The ability of soldier flies to use a variety of substrates for growth, while
producing a consistent product, will makes them the preferred protein production alternative.
Species Fed, Designer and Organic Feed Although plant protein has been shown to provide good growth for
aquaculture species, including tilapias and catfish, soldier fly prepupae meal can replace fish meal in high efficiency
diets and in the diets of carnivores. Dietary inclusion of up to 30% can be achieved for most fish and crustacean
species. Development of a soldier fly prepupae meal after the chitin or skin has been removed will allow a higher
level of dietary inclusion for sensitive aquaculture species, like rainbow trout. By 2033, all aquaculture diets will
have soldier fly prepupae inclusions levels between 5 and 75%. Larval fish and crustacean diets will also be
greatly impacted by the development of soldier fly prepupae meal due to their higher requirement for animal protein
"Designer" and Organic Feeds Supplementation of substrates for production of "designer" prepupae is highly
desirable to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids and adapt the final composition to specific needs of
aquaculture species. Diets for brood stock, especially shrimp and marine finfish, will benefit from designer soldier
fly prepupae containing high lipid, high omega-3 concentrations. Designer soldier fly prepupae will not be GMO,
and may use substrates of "organic" origin to supply the food stock to produce "organic" and enriched feed-grade
protein concentrate. The unique and controlled nature of soldier fly prepupae production allows for manipulation of
the final nutrient composition of the product. This aspect provides an advantage over many protein products with
variable source and manufacturing characteristics that change product composition, including fishmeal, poultry by-
product meal, and meat-and-bone meal.
Feed Needed Aquaculture feeds that include commercial sources of fish meal, estimated on the basis of shrimp,
salmonid, catfish and tilapia production, are about seven million tons worldwide. Base on the SOFIA projections for
growth in the industry, 8.7 million tons will be needed in 2013 and 13.5 million tons in 2033. The amount of soldier
fly prepupae meal needed will depend on the dietary inclusion rate and the rate of penetration of this new product
into the feed protein market. The projected 10% average dietary inclusion rate and 50% penetration rate, 675,000
tons of soldier fly prepupae meal and protein concentrate will be needed by 2033.
Production Possible Prepupae production from just two previously researched "waste" streams from the U.S.
alone can meet the projected needs. Also, many other feedstock streams and those outside the U.S. can be used.
Production from manure of confined swine in the U.S. alone would be 1.8 million tons of prepupae. Another more
easily accessed feedstock is U.S. brewer grains, which would produce about 500,000 tons of prepupae annually.
Insect Utilization, Nutrients, Antimicrobial Many populations of wild animals, especially fish, birds, bats, and
others, depend upon consumption of insects for a significant part of their nutrition. Most scientific effort devoted to
insects has been aimed at destroying pest species, rather than using beneficial species. This vast production
potential of insects will finally be used in support of the human food chain by developing the commercial production
of Hermetia to feed our farmed fish. The composition of whole unseperated Hermetia prepupae meal is about 42%
protein, 35% lipid, 5% calcium, 1.5% phosphorus, 3.4% lysine, and 1% methionine/cystine. Interestingly, Hermetia
meal lipids contain about 54% lauric acid which has been shown to be active against lipid coated viruses, including
HIV virus, measles virus, clostridium, and many pathogenic protozoa. The high quality and unique characteristics
of Hermetia meal will have many uses in the aquaculture and other animal industries.
Sustainability Black soldier fly (Hermetia) upgrade lower value materials into a source of animal protein (and
lipid) which has a much higher value, especially as an ingredient in diets for fish. When these lower value
resources (such as waste food, by-products of the alcoholic beverage or ethanol industry, or animal manure) are
consumed by Hermetia, the process also serves as a treatment that reduces the volume and nutrient content of the
starting material. This is especially important, for increasing sustainability, in the case of animal manures (which
are often produced in excess of local demand) and materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Hermetia
production will be sustainable in that it uses underutilized materials and, in turn, it increases the sustainability of the
endeavors producing these materials.
The demands of the U.S. economic system which favors large scale production, established supply chains, and
centralized distribution; puts distributed production (which is often more sustainable and usually the place of new
commodities), at a distinct disadvantage. Systems of distributed production usually develop to supply a specialty
market. The aquaculture feed industry will be enough of a specialty market to support the development of Hermetia
culture into commodity status within 5-10 years. Other animal industries, that use fish meal, will also benefit from
the availability of Hermetia meal. With sufficient penetration of the feed protein market by Hermetia meal, the
demand for wild capture fish meal will move more into line with sustainable harvest.
© Organic Value Recovery Solutions 2010
© Organic Value Recovery Solutions 2010