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Article

Potential of Fermentation and Vacuum Packaging Followed by Chilling to Preserve Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Hermetia illucens)

1
Research Group for Insect Production and Processing, Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems (M²S), Geel Campus, KU Leuven, 2440 Geel, Belgium
2
Leuven Food Science and Nutrition Research Centre (LFoRCe), KU Leuven, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jeffery K. Tomberlin
Received: 1 July 2021 / Revised: 27 July 2021 / Accepted: 4 August 2021 / Published: 10 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Insect Chains)
Insects are being produced at an industrial scale, mainly as feed ingredient to replace less sustainable protein sources in feed. Larvae of the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) are currently the most important species reared for this purpose. After production, it is necessary that the larvae be stored and transported in a stable way, i.e., without deterioration. In this study, we investigated fermentation and vacuum packaging technology as potential stabilisation techniques. Fermentation appears to be possible when the larvae are first blanched and pulverised, but bacterial endospores remain present and can potentially be dangerous if the conditions are not acidic enough. Vacuum packaging was tested as storage technique for living larvae, but their survival was lower than for living larvae packaged in air. Additionally, for killed larvae, vacuum packaging before chilling did not bring benefits over chilled storage alone. That was concluded from the fact that microbial counts were similar for larvae that were packaged in air or under vacuum during storage.
Black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens) are currently reared at an industrial scale, mainly as a feed ingredient. The logistic chain not only involves the production of larvae, but also stabilisation, storage, and transport. The aim of this work was to study fermentation and vacuum packaging of larvae as potential preservation technologies. For fermentation, blanched larvae were pulverised into a paste, and a starter culture, NaCl, and glucose were added. The mixture was fermented for 7 days at 35 °C and then stored for 14 days at 4 °C and pH and microbial counts were monitored. Vacuum packaging was applied to living, blanched and frozen larvae. After packaging, they were stored for 6–10 days at several temperatures and gas composition, survival (living larvae) and microbial counts (killed larvae) were recorded. Fermentation allows storage of pulverised larvae, but points to consider are a rapid pH reduction and the presence of bacterial endospores. Vacuum packaging did not bring added value over cooling alone. This was the case for all types of larvae investigated. Vacuum packaging is not considered as a valuable preservation technology to pursue for storage and transport of black soldier fly larvae. View Full-Text
Keywords: black soldier fly larvae; Hermetia illucens; storage; fermentation; vacuum packaging; chilling black soldier fly larvae; Hermetia illucens; storage; fermentation; vacuum packaging; chilling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Van Campenhout, L.; Lachi, D.; Vandeweyer, D. Potential of Fermentation and Vacuum Packaging Followed by Chilling to Preserve Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Hermetia illucens). Insects 2021, 12, 714. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/insects12080714

AMA Style

Van Campenhout L, Lachi D, Vandeweyer D. Potential of Fermentation and Vacuum Packaging Followed by Chilling to Preserve Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Hermetia illucens). Insects. 2021; 12(8):714. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/insects12080714

Chicago/Turabian Style

Van Campenhout, Leen, Dario Lachi, and Dries Vandeweyer. 2021. "Potential of Fermentation and Vacuum Packaging Followed by Chilling to Preserve Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Hermetia illucens)" Insects 12, no. 8: 714. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/insects12080714

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