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Mutual Influence between Polyvinyl Chloride (Micro)Plastics and Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Hermetia illucens L.)

Due to the expansion in the global population, there is an increase in animal protein demand and waste generation. Currently, food waste derived from supermarkets, etc., which is used to produce biogas, is collected separately and can contain (micro)plastics deriving from food packaging, imposing potential risks to the environment. A possible solution to address protein, waste and plastic concerns can potentially be achieved by rearing black soldier fly (BSF) larvae on such substrates. In this study, we investigated the effect of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (micro)plastics on the growth, survival, and bioconversion of BSF larvae. On the other hand, the impact of the larvae on the polymer structure and degradation was also assessed. This was carried out by rearing BSF larvae on artificial food waste spiked with micro-, meso-, and macroplastics, while measuring larval growth, survival, and bioconversion parameters. The remaining plastics were collected and analysed upon changes and degradation of their polymer structure. Generally, BSF larvae were not affected in terms of growth performance (179.9–210.4 mg), survival (77.1–87.3%), and bioconversion (FCR: 4.65–5.53) by the presence of (micro)plastics in the substrates. Furthermore, the larvae were also unable to significantly alter the polymer structure of the used plastic.

Publication date: 25/09/2022

Author: Siebe Lievens

Reference: doi: 10.3390/su141912109

MDPI (sustainability)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.