Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens L.) as a high-potential agent for bioconversion of municipal primary sewage sludge

TitleBlack soldier fly (Hermetia illucens L.) as a high-potential agent for bioconversion of municipal primary sewage sludge
Publication TypeArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsArnone, S., De Mei M., Petrazzuolo F., Musmeci S., Tonelli L., Salvicchi A., Defilippo F., Curatolo M., and Bonilauri P.
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research

The treatment of municipal wastewater produces clean water and sewage sludge (MSS), the management of which has become a serious problem in Europe. The typical destination of MSS is to spread it on land, but the presence of heavy metals and pollutants raises environmental and health concerns. Bioconversion mediated by larvae of black soldier fly (BSFL) Hermetia illucens (Diptera, Stratiomyidae: Hermetiinae) may be a strategy for managing MSS. The process adds value by generating larvae which contain proteins and lipids that are suitable for feed and/or for industrial or energy applications, and a residue as soil conditioner. MSS from the treatment plant of Ladispoli (Rome province) was mixed with an artificial fly diet at 50% and 75% (fresh weight basis) to feed BSFL. Larval performance, substrate reduction, and the concentrations of 12 metals in the initial and residual substrates and in larval bodies at the end of the experiments were assessed. Larval survival (> 96%) was not affected. Larval weight, larval development, larval protein and lipid content, and waste reduction increased in proportion the increase of the co-substrate (fly diet). The concentration of most of the 12 elements in the residue was reduced and, in the cases of Cu and Zn, the quantities dropped under the Italian national maximum permissible content for fertilizers. The content of metals in mature larvae did not exceed the maximum allowed concentration in raw material for feed for the European Directive. This study contributes to highlight the potential of BSF for MSS recovery and its valorization. The proportion of fly diet in the mixture influenced the process, and the one with the highest co-substrate percentage performed best. Future research using other wastes or by-products as co-substrate of MSS should be explored to determine their suitability. © 2022, The Author(s).


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