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The project was presented during EAAP annual conference in Davos, Switzerland

Dear Readers and friends of SUStainable INsect CHAIN (SUSINCHAIN),

First of all, I hope you are reading this newsletter in good health. After a period in which many people have encountered personal and/or business problems due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is my pleasure to present this newsletter to you. Data is currently being collected and experiments performed under various work packages. During the EAAP annual conference, 21 presentations were given in a SUSINCHAIN project session focusing on latest research results. SUSINCHAIN is now halfway through its term and this newsletter will again discuss the most recent developments in the project. I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter and invite stakeholders to join the stakeholder platform.

Teun Veldkamp, Wageningen Livestock Research, coordinator of SUSINCHAIN.

For more information on the SUSINCHAIN project and its research topics, the Project Coordinator invites you to check our website.

Project updates

Activities on Upscaling Rearing Insects

To optimize the growth of the insects for a more efficient rearing and high-quality product, several trials have been set-up and ongoing to improve the feed of BSF, mealworms and crickets.

Several partners have looked at density, particle size, feeding regime etc. For example, in a first trial, reducing the feed density for the BSF using, inert materials, seemed to improve the growth of the larvae and the overall yield.

This experiment is currently replicated on a larger scale to assess the industrial possibilities. The results of two other trials on mealworms have now been published as open access research paper in the Journal for insects as food and feed.

In the near future, work will start with low-cost feed made from side streams that are now currently abundantly available but not easy to use in conventional animal farms for the cricket, mealworm and BSF.

Activities on Insect Processing

Storage and transport experiments delivered a first publication (see below) regarding the impact of vacuum packaging on survival of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL). Unfortunately, storage under vacuum was not beneficial. However, the potential of storage of living larvae in chilled water or of dried larvae under nitrogen atmosphere is currently being explored.

Optimisation of microwave drying and radio frequency drying technologies is being finalised. In a next phase, a large-scale experiment will be set up to compare these novel technologies with conventional drying techniques (freeze drying and oven drying) in terms of microbiological and nutritional quality as well as in terms of costs.

For dried larvae, low energy electron beam (LEEB) is being investigated as decontamination technology. It was proven that LEEB treatment can substantially reduce the microbial load of dried insects and prolong shelf life for mealworms. Similar experiments for BSFL are ongoing. Next, the LEEB technology will be applied on microwave-dried insects from this WP.

The high moisture extrusion (HME) technology has proven the possibility to incorporate up to 30% whole fresh or frozen insects (mealworms, BSFL, house crickets or housefly larvae) in plant-based extrudates. In this way, the nutritional quality of the product could be improved, while only slightly reducing product firmness. HME acted as both processing and pasteurisation step at the same time and can be introduced in both food and feed industry.

High moisture extrudates including insects
(picture: DIL)

Large-scale tricanter centrifugation to improve protein recovery from BSFL was optimised, with inclusion of an enzymatic treatment. This technology was then used to produce defatted BSFL meal. that the enzyme treatment evidently involves an additional cost, but the use of enzymes in this optimised protocol improves in vitro digestibility of the meals by over 20%.

Activities on Insects in Animal Feed

The large-scale trial with European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) has been performed in Greece in the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR). It ended in July 2021. All samples have been collected for the analyses on animal health and product quality.

(1) Experimental tanks for large scale European sea bass trial (2) Fish sampling for cages (3) Samples and Data collection (4) Samples ready to be shipped

Activities on Safety along the Insect Value Chain

The two insect trials on mycotoxins have been finalized, and analyses are currently being performed and first (promising) results are obtained.

  • The first experiment on lesser mealworm was performed together with ProtiFarm and focused on the effects of Aflatoxin B1 on three different life-stages of this insect. Aflatoxin B1 is a very toxic compound produced by certain fungi, and contamination of certain food and feed materials such as peanuts and maize are highly problematic, especially in Africa. Earlier results indicated that the lesser mealworm metabolized the aflatoxin B1 to some extent, while not being affected in terms of growth and survival itself. The diet the larvae was artificially contaminated with Aflatoxin B1, and larvae were grown on the contaminated substrate. High resolution mass spectrometry methods are being used to gain more knowledge on the metabolites that are formed by the larvae.
  • The second experiment with black soldier fly larvae was performed together with Bestico and focused on determining the exact metabolites of aflatoxin B1, as well as the mycotoxins zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol (DON) and fumonisin (FB1). For this purpose, the diet of the larvae was artificially contaminated with isotope labelled versions of these toxins. Samples were also analysed using high resolution mass spectrometry, but by comparing the results of the isotope labelled mycotoxins to treatments with unlabelled versions, more information on formed metabolites can be gathered.

The experiment with plant toxins has been finalized and results of the analyses are expected soon. Both black soldier fly larvae and lesser mealworm were exposed to five different mixtures of (artificial) plant toxins in their diet, in order to determine the effects on growth and survival; as well as bio-accumulation and/or excretion of these compounds. Preliminary results suggest that both insect species were not significantly affected by these treatments, but that transfer and accumulation of individual toxins differed. Further interpretation of results is ongoing, and a scientific article based on this work is currently being prepared.

(1) Overview of experimental containers for mycotoxins experiment with black soldier fly larvae, in collaboration with Bestico (2) Removal of individual black soldier fly larvae from experimental container, for counting, weighing, and subsequent analysis (3) Overview of lesser mealworm rearing containers for experiment with aflatoxin B1

Activities on Exploitation, Communication and Dissemination

Governing Council meeting of SUSINCHAIN project on 5th October 2021

SUSINCHAIN 3rd Governing Council held a virtual meeting on 5th October to discuss work progress of various stakeholder activities among breakout rooms and gather feedback for WP continuation. The meeting was planned to be held in person in Copenhagen (Denmark) and hosted by local partner the University of Copenhagen, but due to the remaining travel restrictions the consortium decided to hold the meeting virtually. The Advisory Board were impressed with the progress thus far, despite the barriers caused by COVID19.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place on 4th October 2022 in Geel (Belgium) and will be hosted by KU Leuven.

Spotlights & Media Room

SUSINCHAIN featured on Bugging Denmark's social media

SUSINCHAIN was featured in a video on Bugging Denmark´s social media with their collaboration with the University of Copenhagen on the upcycle of used refrigerated containers for the production of edible chickens.

Featured News & Articles

  • Van Campenhout, L., Lachi, D., Vandeweyer, D. (2021). Potential of Fermentation and Vacuum Packaging Followed by Chilling to Preserve Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Hermetia illucens). Insects, 12(8), 714, doi: 10.3390/insects12080714.
  • De Smet, J., Vandeweyer, D., Van Moll, L., Lachi, D., Van Campenhout, L. (2021). Dynamics of Salmonella inoculated during rearing of black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens). Food Research International 149, doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2021.110692.



  • EAAP 2021 – Davos, Switzerland (30 August – 3 September)
  • INSECTA 2021 – Magdeburg, Germany (8 – 9 September)


Partners & Stakeholders


Call for Supporting Organisations

Please contact Ms. Ana Fernandes if your organisation wants to be featured at SUSINCHAIN´s Supporting Organisation webpage.

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SUSINCHAIN received funding from the European Union’s H2020 programme under the grant agreement 861976.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

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