- Publication date : 2021-07-14
Saucier, L., M'ballou, C., Ratti, C., Deschamps, M.-H., Lebeuf, Y. & Vandenberg, G. W. (2021). Comparison of Black Soldier Fly larvae pre-treatments and drying techniques on the microbial load and physico-chemical characteristics. Insects as Food and Feed. https://doi.org/10.3920/JIFF2021.0002
Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) are good candidates for upcycling wet organic residuals. Like other unprocessed raw animal products, BSFL require processing to prevent spoilage and degradation during storage and to facilitate their use as feed ingredients. In this study, hot-air drying and freeze-drying were examined as means to ensure long-term preservation. Pre-treatments of larvae, such as puncturing, blanching (40 s) and scalding (2, 4, 6 and 8 min) in boiling water reduced drying times, most likely by affecting the integrity of the wax-coated cuticle that protects the larvae against desiccation. Overall, the larvae dried two to six times faster using hot-air compared to freeze-drying, and larvae pre-treatments were proven to effectively improve drying efficacy. Pre-treating larvae in boiling water followed by a shorter drying time with hot air was effective at reducing primary and secondary oxidation as well as darkening/browning (colour lightness, L* value) compared to the untreated control (raw-thawed) larvae. The larvae pre-treatments in boiling water also led to a significant reduction in microbial load (3.21 to 4.83 log) in the dry product compared to the control. BSFL powder, produced from grinding thawed larvae that were pre-treated for 4 min in boiling water before being dried in hot air (60 °C; 6 h), had a water activity below 0.4. This led to a relatively stable product with limited colour changes over a 30-day storage period. These processing treatments also resulted in a product with no detectable Salmonella and Escherichia coli counts ranging from 100 to 1000 cfu/g. Overall, the powdered BSFL product was deemed suitable to incorporate into pelleted feed under the current regulations in Canada.