Department Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development

Black Soldier Fly Biowaste Processing

Many organic waste sources make an excellent feed substrate for the larvae of the black soldier fly (BSF), Hermetia illucens L. (Diptera: Stratiomyidae). Given the right circumstances, the larvae are able to reduce the waste material by 50-80% and convert up to 20% of the waste material into larval biomass within ±14 days. The grown larvae make an excellent protein source in animal feed and their sale can contribute to lower waste treatment cost and potential income opportunities from organic waste.


BSF projects

Discover BSF research at Sandec on Black Soldier Fly biowaste processing covering different themes. Explore our publications on diverse aspects below:

Pretreatment methods, biowaste formulations and biowaste conversion-Publications

Peguero, D. A.; Gold, M.; Endara, A.; Niu, M.; Zurbrügg, C.; Mathys, A. (2023) Evaluation of ammonia pretreatment of four fibrous biowastes and its effect on black soldier fly larvae rearing performance, Waste Management, 160, 123-134, doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2023.01.033, Institutional Repository
Gold, M.; Cassar, C. M.; Zurbrügg, C.; Kreuzer, M.; Boulos, S.; Diener, S.; Mathys, A. (2020) Biowaste treatment with black soldier fly larvae: increasing performance through the formulation of biowastes based on protein and carbohydrates, Waste Management, 102, 319-329, doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2019.10.036, Institutional Repository
Peguero, D. A.; Gold, M.; Vandeweyer, D.; Zurbrügg, C.; Mathys, A. (2022) A review of pretreatment methods to improve agri-food waste bioconversion by black soldier fly larvae, Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 5, 745894 (9 pp.), doi:10.3389/fsufs.2021.745894, Institutional Repository
Isibika, A.; Vinnerås, B.; Kibazohi, O.; Zurbrügg, C.; Lalander, C. (2019) Pre-treatment of banana peel to improve composting by black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens (L.), Diptera: Stratiomyidae) larvae, Waste Management, 100, 151-160, doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2019.09.017, Institutional Repository
Lalander, C.; Diener, S.; Zurbrügg, C.; Vinnerås, B. (2019) Effects of feedstock on larval development and process efficiency in waste treatment with black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens), Journal of Cleaner Production, 208, 211-219, doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.10.017, Institutional Repository
Isibika, A.; Vinnerås, B.; Kibazohi, O.; Zurbrügg, C.; Lalander, C. (2021) Co-composting of banana peel and orange peel waste with fish waste to improve conversion by black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens (L.), Diptera: Stratiomyidae) larvae, Journal of Cleaner Production, 318, 128570 (8 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.128570, Institutional Repository
Gold, M.; Tomberlin, J. K.; Diener, S.; Zurbrügg, C.; Mathys, A. (2018) Decomposition of biowaste macronutrients, microbes, and chemicals in black soldier fly larval treatment: a review, Waste Management, 82, 302-318, doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2018.10.022, Institutional Repository

Environmental impact, cost modeling and hygiene aspects of BSFL- Publications

Peguero, D. A., Gold, M., Duewell, T., Waser, A., Dubovcova, B., Vandeweyer, D., ... & Mathys, A. (2023). Low energy electron beam to support safe whole dried insect products. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed, 1(aop), 1-17.

Grau, M. G. P.; Dortmans, B. M. A.; Egger, J.; Virard, G.; Zurbrügg, C. (2023) Modelling the financial viability of centralised and decentralised black soldier fly larvae waste processing units in Surabaya, Indonesia, Journal of Insects as Food and Feed, 9(3), 303-316, doi:10.3920/JIFF2022.0012, Institutional Repository
Mertenat, A.; Diener, S.; Zurbrügg, C. (2019) Black Soldier Fly biowaste treatment – assessment of global warming potential, Waste Management, 84, 173-181, doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2018.11.040, Institutional Repository
Diener, S.; Zurbrügg, C.; Tockner, K. (2015) Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens and effects on its life cycle, Journal of Insects as Food and Feed, 1(4), 261-270, doi:10.3920/JIFF2015.0030, Institutional Repository
Lalander, C. H.; Fidjeland, J.; Diener, S.; Eriksson, S.; Vinnerås, B. (2014) High waste-to-biomass conversion and efficient Salmonella spp. reduction using black soldier fly for waste recycling, Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 35(1), 261-271, doi:10.1007/s13593-014-0235-4, Institutional Repository
Lalander, C.; Diener, S.; Magri, M. E.; Zurbrügg, C.; Lindström, A.; Vinnerås, B. (2013) Faecal sludge management with the larvae of the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) — From a hygiene aspect, Science of the Total Environment, 458, 312-318, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.04.033, Institutional Repository

Innovative research methods and techniques for BSFL - Publications

Gold, M.; von Allmen, F.; Zurbrügg, C.; Zhang, J.; Mathys, A. (2020) Identification of bacteria in two food waste black soldier fly larvae rearing residues, Frontiers in Microbiology, 11, 582867 (19 pp.), doi:10.3389/fmicb.2020.582867, Institutional Repository
Gold, M.; Binggeli, M.; Kurt, F.; de Wouters, T.; Reichlin, M.; Zurbrügg, C.; Mathys, A.; Kreuzer, M. (2020) Novel experimental methods for the investigation of Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) Larvae, Journal of Insect Science, 20(3), 21 (9 pp.), doi:10.1093/jisesa/ieaa057, Institutional Repository
Gold, M.; Egger, J.; Scheidegger, A.; Zurbrügg, C.; Bruno, D.; Bonelli, M.; Tettamanti, G.; Casartelli, M.; Schmitt, E.; Kerkaert, B.; De Smet, J.; Van Campenhout, L.; Mathys, A. (2020) Estimating black soldier fly larvae biowaste conversion performance by simulation of midgut digestion, Waste Management, 112, 40-51, doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2020.05.026, Institutional Repository


Selected BSF Projects

Sustainable Waste-based Insect Farming Technologies in Uganda and Malawi
FORWARD is an applied research project developing integrated strategies & technologies for the management of municipal organic solid waste in medium-sized cities of Indonesia.
Generating knowledge and developing tools for small & medium enterprises and municipalities on the economic perspectives of using Black-Soldier Flies (BSF) for valorizing organic waste.