Researchers are studying the bioconversion of food waste by H. illucens larvae to tackle two global challenges. They aim to reduce food waste in the food industry and overcome the shortage of raw protein materials.

Adult specimens of H. illucens – referred to as “imago” in biology – are an intermediate in a technological process the end product of which is larvae. Grown on bakery products and vegetable and fruit waste, they are dried and then used in poultry farming and aquaculture. Their vital activity results in the formation of biohumus, a valuable organic fertilizer.

The flies are kept in an insectarium inside a small greenhouse that provides the optimal temperature and humidity for their development. The scientists pose that lilac lighting may boost egg production. 

The image was taken in the insectarium of ITMO’s Faculty of Biotechnologies (the laboratory of the Industrial Ecology program) as part of a student project on obtaining secondary raw materials and energy resources using the principles of circular economy.

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