Using larvae to eliminate food waste could be an ecological game-changer, the Washington Post reports, as the concept is tested by an LSU pilot program that deploys a small colony of soldier flies to consume the food its students toss out at one dining hall.
Devon Brits, the entomologist overseeing the LSU pilot program, hopes the project will be expanded to eliminate all campus food waste by the end of the year. It’s one of several ways maggots’ ability to transform nearly any kind of organic waste into protein is being explored—part of a broader effort to revolutionize global food supplies through the burgeoning bug industry.
In one year, a single acre of black soldier fly larvae can produce more protein than 3,000 acres of cattle or 130 acres of soybeans. Such yields—combined with the need to find cheap, reliable protein for a global population projected to jump 30 percent, to 9.8 billion by 2050—present big opportunities for the black soldier fly.
One of the first commercial applications for soldier fly larvae was as live feed for pet reptiles. The reptile market took off in the 1990s, David Fluker, owner of the Port Allen-based Fluker Farms, told the Post, after the film “Jurassic Park” (1993) sparked interest in dinosaurs and enthusiasm for their most attainable approximations.