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Feeding black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens) reared on organic rest streams alters gut characteristics of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)


Birgir Örn Smárason



The Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) aquaculture industry is growing, and with it, the need to source and optimise sustainable ingredients for aquafeeds. Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae (Hermetia illucens) have received increasing research attention since they are a good source of protein that can efficiently convert a wide range of low-value organic material into valuable resources. This study investigated the impact of three differently processed BSF meals, an untreated BSF diet (BSFC+), a dechitinated BSF diet (BSFC-) and a fermented BSF diet (BSFC+P+) at a 10% inclusion level replacing fish meal in a fish meal control (FM) and a marine and soy protein concentrate based control diet (SPC). Growth performance, gut microbiome and gut histology of salmon fry was assessed. The inclusion and processing methods of BSF showed no adverse impacts on either growth performance or gut histology. However, the gut microbiome of fish was significantly altered by both the protein source and the processing method of the BSF larvae. Fish fed BSFC+, had an increased diversity and evenness of the community compared with conventional protein sources alone, and compared with the other BSF processing methods. However, control diets had a greater presence of lactic acid bacteria and genera associated with faster growing hosts. Fish fed BSF had a high relative abundance of the genus, Exiguobacterium, a chitin-degrading bacterium and in BSFC+P+ fed fish this bacterium completely dominated the community, indicating the presence of dysbiosis. Future studies should determine, why Exiguobacterium has dominated the community for the BSFC+P+ diet, and if it provides a digestive function to the host and identify bacteria that are indicators of optimal host performance and resilience. The results confirmed that BSF is a promising fish meal replacement for salmon, and it demonstrated that BSFC+ has a potential prebiotic impact on the gut microbiome of Atlantic salmon.