The microbial safety of seaweed as a feed component for black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae


Swinscoe I, Oliver DM, Ørnsrud R & Quilliam RS (2020) The microbial safety of seaweed as a feed component for black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae. Food Microbiology, 91, Art. No.: 103535.

Farmed insects can offer an environmentally sustainable aquafeed or livestock feed ingredient. The value of black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) (BSF) larvae however, could be improved by enrichment in omega-3 through the dietary inclusion of seaweed. However, the industry practice of drying seaweed at low temperatures to retain nutritional properties may benefit the survival of human pathogenic bacteria, particularly if the seaweed has been harvested from contaminated water. Here we have demonstrated that E. coli and E. coli O157:H7 died-off in seaweed dried at 50 °C, although both were detected in the dried powder following 72 h storage. V. parahaemolyticus fell below the level of detection in stored seaweed after drying at ≥ 50 °C, but L. monocytogenes remained detectable, and continued to grow in seaweed dried at ≤60 °C. Therefore, drying seaweed at low temperatures risks pathogen carry-over into insects destined for animal feed. BSF larvae reared on an artificially contaminated seaweed-supplemented diet also became contaminated by all four bacteria present in the supplement. Water quality at seaweed harvesting sites, seaweed desiccation, and insect rearing practices, represent critical points where development of regulatory standards could achieve targeted control of pathogenic hazards.

BSF larvae; Food safety; Human pathogens; Listeria; Macroalgae; Sustainable food systems

Food Microbiology: Volume 91

FundersUniversity of Stirling and Institute of Marine Research
Publication date31/10/2020
Publication date online31/05/2020
Date accepted by journal23/04/2020
PublisherElsevier BV