Towards utilizing livestock manure for mass rearing of houseflies for feed
Given the ever growing human population, the livestock sector is in urgent need for more sustainable feed sources and a reduction of the environmental impact. There is a rapidly growing interest in the use of insects in livestock farming, both as an alternative source of protein in animal feed and to reduce farm waste through biodegradation of manure. This project aims to develop an efficient and sustainable production method to locally rear the common housefly on farm manure and supply the larvae as feed for production animals. Specifically, we will determine the suitability of manure as feeding substrate for the housefly by investigating (1) the nutritional value of the manure and its effect on housefly larvae nutritional composition, (2) the optimal mass rearing conditions for the houseflies in terms of manure type, rearing temperature, and population sex ratio. The strength of the our research is that we take an integrated, multidisciplinary approach with a strong public-private partnership between three leading academic groups and the industrial partner Amusca who has long-term expertise with production of houseflies and close contacts with agricultural customers. Our ultimate goal is to develop a fully-closed production system that can be applied locally, mitigating the need for transport of their end-product. This should lead to a significant reduction in the use of raw materials and production of waste, which will in turn reduce the environmental impact of the livestock industry and improve human food safety as part of a circular economy.
Our project aims at improving the commercial production of houseflies in the agri-business sector and falls directly under the mission of the topsector Agri&Food to improve human food safety. A specific aim is to re-use waste products for animal production with a clear relevance to the top sectors Tuinbouw & Uitgangsmaterialen and Energy and Water which aim at more food safety and conservation of biodiversity as part of a circular economy. Our results further have links with the Logistiek and Creative Industry topsectors, because we will develop efficient insect production facilities tailored towards commercial stakeholders (e.g. poultry farmers) that can be applied locally, reducing the need for transport of materials. Our research is practice-based and will develop novel technology fitting the goal of responsible innovation under the “Smart Industry” roadmap. Knowledge build-up on the nutritional requirements and metabolism of houseflies also has cross-overs to the topsector Chemie as insect food digestion and metabolism is combined with efficient biomass conversion under the “Chemistry of Life” roadmap.
This project aims to contribute to a more sustainable food production, including improved livestock well-being, by developing efficient mass rearing procedures for houseflies as feed. As such it complies to the “Circular economy and resource efficiency” route of the National Science Agenda. It also has direct relevance to the routes “Sustainable production of heathy and safe food”, “Quality of the environment” and “Logistics and transport in an innovative and sustainable society”. As our results will lead to reduction of waste streams and re-use of resources, we also contribute to the Agenda’s energy transition and sustainable development goals.