npj Science of Food Pub Date : 2019-09-02 , DOI: 10.1038/s41538-019-0047-7 Lydia Palma; Jesus Fernandez-Bayo; Deb Niemeier; Maurice Pitesky; Jean S. VanderGheynst
Increases in global human population are leading to increasing demands for food production and waste management. Insect biomass is a sustainable alternative to traditional animal feeds when insects are produced on lignocellulosic by-products. Resources high in lignocellulose have high carbon to nitrogen ratios and require nitrogen supplementation to accelerate bioconversion. Here we report on studies that examine the influence of nitrogen supplementation of almond hull-based feedstocks on black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens L.) cultivation and composition. Decreasing carbon to nitrogen ratio from 49 to 16 increased larvae harvest dry weight, specific larvae growth, and yield by 36%, 31%, and 51%, respectively. However, the decrease in carbon to nitrogen ratio decreased larvae methionine and cysteine contents by 11% and 13%, respectively. The findings demonstrate that carbon to nitrogen ratio can be managed to enhance bioconversion of lignocellulose to larvae, but that this management approach can reduce larvae amino acid content.