The Healing Power of Black Soldier Fly

A group of Korean researchers was able to cure tummy ache in laboratory mice by feeding them fermented black soldier fly larvae. There is a lot of interest in antimicrobial properties in black soldier flies and identifying biologically active compounds that may be responsible for these properties. However, a recent study has shown that the larva in this species also have direct anti-inflammatory properties.

Son, S.J., Han, A.R., Sung, M.J., Hong, S.M. and Lee, S.H., 2023. Hermetia illucens Fermented with Lactobacillus plantarum KCCM12757P Alleviates Dextran Sodium Sulfate-Induced Colitis in Mice. Antioxidants, 12(10), 1822.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can severely affect humans and animals and is difficult to treat. Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens; Hi) larvae (BSFL) are a sustainable source of protein. However, no studies exist on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions of BSFL or fermented BSFL with respect to IBD. In this study, riboflavin-producing Lactobacillus plantarum KCCM12757P was isolated from a fish farm tank, and in conjunction with hot water-extracted Hi (HeHi) (termed HeHi_Lp), was used to determine optimal fermentation conditions to increase vitamin B2 concentration. This in vivo study investigated the therapeutic effects and mechanistic role of HeHi_Lp in chronic colitis-induced murine models. Histological changes, inflammatory cytokine levels, and intestinal barrier function were explored. Gut microbial communities and gene expression in the nuclear factor (NF)-κB signaling pathway were also studied. HeHi_Lp remarkably reduced the disease activity index, inflammatory cytokine (inducible nitric oxide synthase, cyclooxygenase 2, tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin (IL-6 and IL-1β) levels, and increased body weight and colon length. HeHi_Lp administration significantly raised zonula occludens 1, occludin and claudin 1 and improved the composition of the gut microbiota and beneficial intestinal bacteria. These results suggest that HeHi_Lp can be used as a dietary supplement in pet food to alleviate colitis.