While conversion and growth rates have been well documented for Black Soldier Flies (BSF) larvae that are fed herbivorous and animal food waste, one aspect that has yet to be researched is that of BSF reared on carnivorous waste. In 2019, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) and Republic Polytechnic, a local tertiary institution, embarked on Singapore’s first joint research to use empirical data to study the viability of using BSF to manage carnivorous waste from WRS, and validate the safety of using BSF larvae reared on carnivorous waste as animal feed for insectivorous species.
Led by Principal Investigator Dr Lily Ganda and her team of colleagues and students from Republic Polytechnic Singapore, in collaboration with Dr Francis Cabana, Assistant Director, Zoology from WRS, the one-year study aims to potentially identify environmentally sustainable and closed-loop waste management systems.
A BSF facility was set up at the back-of-house area in the Singapore Zoo in March 2019. The first phase of the project involved the study of the growth and conversion rates of BSF larvae reared across three different substrates – carnivorous waste, animal food waste and herbivorous waste. The second phase would seek to validate the safety of using BSF larvae reared on carnivorous waste as animal feed for insectivorous species, through a series of tests for microbiological pathogens. In its final phase, the project hopes to determine the nutrient content of BSF larvae reared on carnivorous waste and assess its suitability as animal feed.
The facility is currently home to a colony of hundreds of adult flights and larvae capable of processing up to 100kg of waste daily.