It's in Their Genes

Nutrient composition of black soldier fly larvae is strongly influenced by what they eat. There are more and more studies documenting this relationship. However, it is also important to understand physiological and genetic mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. Article below moves in that direction.

Sukmak, R., Suttinun, C., Kovitvadhi, U., Kovitvadhi, A. and Vongsangnak, W., 2023. Uncovering nutrients and energy related gene functions of black soldier fly Hermetia illucens strain KUP. Gene, 148045.

The black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) has emerged as a significant insect species in the decomposition of organic waste for sustainable agricultural practices. Due to its remarkable characteristics and performance, H. illucens is increasingly utilised for insect farming, particularly for industrial-scale rearing throughout the world. In this study, we employed whole-genome sequencing to annotate the gene and protein functions of H. illucens and to explore the functional genomics related to nutrients and energy. As a result, a genome size of H. illucens strain KUP 1.68 Gb with a GC content of 42.13 % was achieved. Of the 14,036 coding sequences, we determined the function of 12,046 protein-coding genes. Based on metabolic functional assignment, we classified 4,218 protein-coding genes; the main category was metabolism (32.86 %). Comparative genomic analysis across the other H. illucens strain and insect species revealed that the major metabolic gene functions and pathways related to nutrient and energy sources of H. illucens KUP are involved in key amino acid metabolism (e.g., cysteine and methionine) as well as fatty acid biosynthesis and glycerolipid metabolism. These findings underscore the metabolic capability and versatility of H. illucens, which is regarded as a potential source of proteins and lipids. Our study contributes to the knowledge regarding the feed utilisation of H. illucens and offers insights into transforming waste into valuable products. H. illucens has the potential to create globally sustainable nutrients and environmentally friendly solutions, aligning with the goal of responsible resource utilisation.