Heather Purshouse

PhD Research Student

BES PhD Student

MSc (Eng, Distinction) Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering, University of Leeds (2013-2014)
BEng (Hons, 1st) General Engineering (Civil Stream), Durham University (2010-2013)


Dr Richard Quilliam
Dr David Oliver
Professor Kate Hampshire
Dr Elizabeth Tilley

Start Date: 1st October 2017

3A135 Cottrell Building
Biological & Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Natural Sciences
University of Stirling
Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA

tel: +44 (0)1786 467831
twitter: @toiletbugs
website: www.toiletbugstories.wordpress.com

Research Project

The role of insect larvae for the sustainable management of faecal wastes in sub-Saharan Africa

Sustainable management of faecal sludge from pit latrines and other on-site sanitation systems in sub-Saharan Africa constitutes a serious public and environmental health challenge. This project will explore the potential role of the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) as a faecal sludge treatment strategy. Black soldier fly larvae have proven potential in processing large volumes of organic matter, reducing volume, pathogen load, and smell, and are already used to treat municipal organic waste around the world. Black soldier fly treatment plants also offer the opportunity to recover value from faecal sludge by harvesting products from the treatment process for use in agriculture and aquaculture, which can improve sanitation and food security simultaneously, and provide economic impetus.

Project Objectives

  • Assess pathogen removal effectiveness of faecal sludge treatment by black soldier fly larvae under range of environmental conditions
  • Understand economic feasibility of municipal-scale black soldier fly processing system operating under different business models, including the marketing of processed biomass (insect frass) as fertiliser and larvae as fish/chicken feed
  • Evaluate cultural acceptability of handling and processing black soldier fly products from faecal waste in African rural and peri-urban agricultural communities

More details on my background and work experience can be found on my LinkedIn page:


Funding Acknowledgements

The PhD is funded by NERC via the IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership. My host institutions are The University of Stirling and Durham University.

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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