Cooperation Is the Key

Another recent paper demonstrates the importance of microorganisms for black soldier fly well-being. Lignocellulose, which is a major component in wood and wood-derived products, such as paper, is very difficult for animals to digest. Microorganisms, on the other hand, often can do it. Having such microorganisms in the gut may be very beneficial when feeding on stuff with high contents of lignocellulose.

Xiang, F., Zhang, Q., Xu, X. and Zhang, Z., 2023. Black soldier fly larvae recruit functional microbiota into the intestines and residues to promote lignocellulosic degradation in domestic biodegradable waste. Environmental Pollution, 122676. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2023.122676

Lignocellulose is an important component of domestic biodegradable waste (DBW), and its complex structure makes it an obstacle in the biological treatment of DBW. Here, we identify black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens L., BSFL) as a bioreactor for lignocellulose degradation in DBW based on their ability to effectively recruit lignocellulose-degrading bacteria. This study mainly examined the lignocellulose degradation, dynamic succession of the microbial community, gene expression of carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes), and co-occurrence network analysis. Investigation of lignocellulose degradation by BSFL within 14 days indicated that the lignocellulose biodegradation rate in the larvae treatment (LT, 26.5%) group was higher than in natural composting (NC, 4.06%). In order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of microbiota, we conducted metagenomic sequencing of larvae intestines (LI), along with the LT and NC. The relative abundance of lignocellulose-degrading bacteria and CAZymes genes in LT and LI were higher than those in NC based on metagenomics sequencing. Importantly, genes coding cellulase and hemicellulase in LI were 3.36- and 2.79-fold higher, respectively, than that in LT, while the ligninase genes in LT were 1.82-fold higher than in LI. A co-occurrence network analysis identified Enterocluster and Luteimonas as keystone taxa in larvae intestines and residues, respectively, with a synergistic relationship to lignocellulose-degrading bacteria. The mechanism of recruiting functional bacteria through the larvae intestines promoted lignocellulose degradation in DBW, improving the efficiency of BSFL biotechnology and resource regeneration.