Nutrient Composition of Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens)

  • Matan ShelomiEmail author


The highly polyphagous nature of black soldier fly (BSF), Hermetia illucens, means it can efficiently convert a large amount of nearly any organic biomass, including manures and lignocellulosic wastes from pre- and post-consumer food waste, into biomass rich in protein and fat. This waste management aspect of BSF is immense, but as the biomass can be returned to the food supply as feed for poultry and fish, the use of BSF to reduce the costs of meat production is gaining significant international attention. We review the extant literature on the subject with a focus on the nutritional value of BSF or BSF meal, which can be used as a whole or partial replacement of soybean meal and fish meal in animal feeds. BSF is high in protein of high quality and sufficient digestibility, with amino acid profiles sufficient for most livestock and animals. BSF is high in fat, predominantly saturated fats followed by monounsaturated fats, normally with high omerga-6 to omega-3 polyunsaturated fat ratios. Defatted larvae or meal can produce a higher protein product. BSF are acceptable sources of vitamin E and certain minerals. The exact macronutrient and micronutrient composition of BSF can be altered by changing the composition of the substrate on which they are fed, the extent of which depends on whether the primary purpose of the bioconversion facility is waste management or feed production. Tests with animals generally show none of the positive effects of replacing standard diets with BSF on the health of the animal and features of the meat. BSF do not bioaccumulate pesticides, drugs, or mycotoxins, but do accumulate cadmium. The fate of prions in BSF is unknown and demands study.


Animal feed Bioconversion Biorefinery Black soldier fly Edible insects Fisheries Hermetia illucens Nutrition Poultry feed Swine feed Waste management 



Amino acid


Black soldier fly


Black soldier fly larvae


Black soldier fly meal


Monounsaturated fatty acid


Polyunsaturated fatty acid


Saturated fatty acid


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EntomologyNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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