Wageningen University & Research
  • Wageningen, Netherlands
Recent publications
Background: Increasing evidence indicates that psychopathological disorders are associated with the gut microbiota. However, data are largely lacking from long-term longitudinal birth cohorts, especially those comprising low-risk healthy individuals. Therefore, this study aims to describe gut microbiota development in healthy children from birth till age 10 years, as well as to investigate potential associations with internalizing and externalizing behavior. Results: Fecal microbial composition of participants in an ongoing longitudinal study (N = 193) was analyzed at 1, 3 and 4 months, and 6 and 10 years of age by 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. Based on these data, three clusters were identified in infancy, two of which were predominated by Bifidobacterium. In childhood, four clusters were observed, two of which increased in prevalence with age. One of the childhood clusters, similar to an enterotype, was highly enriched in genus-level taxon Prevotella_9. Breastfeeding had marked associations with microbiota composition up till age 10, implying an extended role in shaping gut microbial ecology. Microbial clusters were not associated with behavior. However, Prevotella_9 in childhood was positively related to mother-reported externalizing behavior at age 10; this was validated in child reports. Conclusions: This study validated previous findings on Bifidobacterium-enriched and -depleted clusters in infancy. Importantly, it also mapped continued development of gut microbiota in middle childhood. Novel associations between gut microbial composition in the first 10 years of life (especially Prevotella_9), and externalizing behavior at age 10 were found. Replications in other cohorts, as well as follow-up assessments, will help determine the significance of these findings.
Transgenic human monoclonal antibodies derived from humanized mice against different epitopes of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and chimeric llama-human bispecific heavy chain-only antibodies targeting the Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), were produced using a CHO-based transient expression system. Two lead candidates were assessed for each model virus before selecting and progressing one lead molecule. MERS-7.7G6 was used as the model antibody to demonstrate batch-to-batch process consistency and, together with RVFV-107-104, were scaled up to 200 L. Consistent expression titers were obtained in different batches at a 5 L scale for MERS-7.7G6. Although lower expression levels were observed for MERS-7.7G6 and RVFV-107-104 during scale up to 200 L, product quality attributes were consistent at different scales and in different batches. In addition to this, peptide mapping data suggested no detectable sequence variants for any of these candidates. Functional assays demonstrated comparable neutralizing activity for MERS-7.7G6 and RVFV-107-104 generated at different production scales. Similarly, MERS-7.7G6 batches generated at different scales were shown to provide comparable protection in mouse models. Our study demonstrates that a CHO-based transient expression process is capable of generating consistent product quality at different production scales and thereby supports the potential of using transient gene expression to accelerate the manufacturing of early clinical material.
Detrimental consequences of antibiotic treatment may include long-lasting disruption of the gut microbiota. Previous studies found no negative effects of antibiotics on metabolic health, although individualized responses were observed. Here, we aimed to investigate the subject-specific response to vancomycin use in tissue-specific insulin sensitivity by stratifying individuals based on the presence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) or opportunistic pathogens (OPs) in the baseline fecal microbiota. Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) was used to detect ARGs and OPs in DNA isolated from fecal samples of 56 males with overweight/obesity (Body Mass Index: 25-35 kg/m2) and impaired glucose metabolism (fasting plasma glucose ≥5.6 mmol/L and/or 2-hour glucose 7.8-11.1 mmol/L). A two-step hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp was performed to determine tissue-specific insulin sensitivity. Abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) gene expression was assessed using Affymetrix microarray. Gut microbial composition was determined using the Human Intestinal Tract Chip (HITChip) microarray. At baseline, the vancomycin resistance gene vanB was present in 60% of our population. In individuals that were vanB-negative at baseline, AT insulin sensitivity (insulin-mediated suppression of plasma free fatty acids) improved during vancomycin use, while it decreased among vanB-positive individuals (% change post versus baseline: 14.1 ± 5.6 vs. -6.7 ± 7.5% (p = .042)). The vancomycin-induced increase in AT insulin sensitivity was accompanied by downregulation of inflammatory pathways and enrichment of extracellular matrix remodeling pathways in AT. In the vanB-positive group, well-known vanB-carrying bacteria, Enterococcus and Streptococcus, expanded in the gut microbiome. In conclusion, microbiome composition and adipose tissue biology were differentially affected by vancomycin treatment based on fecal vanB carriage.
COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption to previously settled everyday routines, prompting a period of forced experimentation as people have adjusted to rapid changes in their private and working lives. For discussions regarding consumption, this period of experimentation has been interesting, as the apparent instability has disturbed the ongoing trajectory of consumption practices, and with it has created possibilities for transition toward sustainability. In this article, we examine food practices (e.g., food shopping, preparation, and eating) in seven countries (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, UK, and Vietnam) to assess what we can learn to accelerate transitions toward sustainable consumption. Grounded in a practice theoretical approach, our empirical analysis shows how disruption of everyday routines has generated socio-materially bounded experimentation. We demonstrate commonalities across contexts in how lockdown measures have restricted the performance of previously taken-for-granted practices. We also show diversity in experimentation as food consumption is entangled in other everyday practices. Our study, on one hand, portrays how adaptation of food practices allows disruption to be managed, demonstrating creativity in working within and around restrictions to continue to provide services for everyday life. On the other hand, we reveal that the capacity of experimentation is not evenly distributed among people and this variation helps in identifying the wider socio-material conditions that constrain and enable opportunities for readjustment. Understanding disparities that affect experimentation (e.g., integration of food practices with work and caring practices) is informative when thinking about how to stimulate sustainability transformations in food practices and provides critical reflections on strategies to enable sustainable consumption.
Private actors are essential partners in the sustainability governance of commodity-supply chains such as palm oil. However, their actual contribution to promoting sustainability is also contested. This article assesses the role of private actors in the governance of the palm oil-supply chain in Thailand by comparing supply-chain actors that are certified with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards and non-certified supply-chain actors. The comparison entails input supply and production, collection and sales, processing and storage, and distribution. Building on the concept of (global) value chains, we examine the following governance dimensions in our comparison: the management of contracts and agreements, the role of trust in transactions, the relative power of various actors, and the control over smallholder farmers’ access to the market. Primary data were collected in the Surat Thani and Krabi Provinces in southern Thailand. We found that the RSPO-certified palm-oil chain was shorter, more transparent, and that farmers received higher prices than the non-RSPO-certified chains.
The COVID-19 crisis has led to an unprecedented acceleration in the number of people working from home (WFH). This article applies a practice theoretical lens to expand the pre-pandemic telework literature which often overlooks how WFH is part of complex socio-material arrangements. Based on 56 household interviews in the UK, the United States, and Norway during lockdown in Spring 2020, we reveal the everyday realities of WFH, exploring their implications for the future of work. Developing the concept of boundary traffic, which refers to the additional interaction and collision of a range of everyday practices normally separated in time and space when working outside the home, we provide some insights into how disruption and de- and re-routinization vary by household type, space, and employer’s actions. Much teleworking scholarship highlights technological and spatial flexibility of work, without recognizing the mundane realities of WFH when there is no space for a large computer monitor, preferences to be with children even when a secluded home office is available, or a feeling that important social connections diminish when working on a virtual basis. We discuss the future of work in relation to digitalization, social inequality, and environmental sustainability and conclude by stressing how WFH cannot be understood as merely a technical solution to work-life flexibility. Rather, lockdown-induced WFH has deeply changed the meaning and content of homes as households have resolved the spatial, material, social, and temporal aspects of boundary traffic when embedding work into the domestic practice-bundle.
Although often overlooked, the use of disinfectants can lead to antimicrobial resistance and this may exacerbate resistance to antibiotics. Here, we explain why all antimicrobial agents, including disinfectants, should be used prudently in a way that is guided by evidence. van Dijk et al. discuss the potential for antimicrobial resistance as a consequence of disinfectant use. The authors advocate for the prudent use of disinfectants in all sectors of society.
The zoonotic pathogen Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis (SE) causes severe disease in young chickens. Restriction on antibiotic use requires alternative SE control strategies such as nutritional solutions to improve the resistance of chickens. In this study, chickens were fed long-chain glucomannan (GM) or standard diet and challenged with SE at seven days of age. During 21 days post-infection (dpi), we determined numbers and responsiveness of natural killer (NK) and T cells in ileum and spleen, and SE-specific antibody titers in serum. Microbiota compositions in ileum and caeca were determined, as well as correlations of these with numbers and function of immune cells. Some of the samples in the control group had numerically higher CFUs than the GM-treated group. In addition, the relative abundance of SE based on DNA assessment was significantly lower at 21 dpi upon GM supplementation. At 3 dpi, numbers of intraepithelial NK cells were significantly higher, while activation of intraepithelial NK cells (7 dpi), numbers of intraepithelial cytotoxic CD8 ⁺ T cells (14 dpi) and SE-specific antibodies (14 dpi) were numerically higher. Furthermore, relative abundance of the commensal lactic acid bacteria (LAB) significantly increased with GM supplementation post-infection. Higher relative abundance of streptococci was associated with reduced SE in ileal and caecal contents at 21 dpi. Relative abundance of streptococci negatively correlated with SE counts and positively correlated with NK cell activation and SE-specific antibodies, which suggests involvement of the commensal LAB in NK cell responsiveness. These results indicate that GM supplementation modulates the immune system, intestinal microbiota and impacts SE infection of young chickens.
Background Linkage disequilibrium (LD) is commonly measured based on the squared coefficient of correlation $$\left({r}^{2}\right)$$ r 2 between the alleles at two loci that are carried by haplotypes. LD can also be estimated as the $${r}^{2}$$ r 2 between unphased genotype dosage at two loci when the allele frequencies and inbreeding coefficients at both loci are identical for the parental lines. Here, we investigated whether $${r}^{2}$$ r 2 for a crossbred population (F1) can be estimated using genotype data. The parental lines of the crossbred (F1) can be purebred or crossbred. Methods We approached this by first showing that inbreeding coefficients for an F1 crossbred population are negative, and typically differ in size between loci. Then, we proved that the expected $${r}^{2}$$ r 2 computed from unphased genotype data is expected to be identical to the $${r}^{2}$$ r 2 computed from haplotype data for an F1 crossbred population, regardless of the inbreeding coefficients at the two loci. Finally, we investigated the bias and precision of the $${r}^{2}$$ r 2 estimated using unphased genotype versus haplotype data in stochastic simulation. Results Our findings show that estimates of $${r}^{2}$$ r 2 based on haplotype and unphased genotype data are both unbiased for different combinations of allele frequencies, sample sizes (900, 1800, and 2700), and levels of LD. In general, for any allele frequency combination and $${r}^{2}$$ r 2 value scenarios considered, and for both methods to estimate $${r}^{2}$$ r 2 , the precision of the estimates increased, and the bias of the estimates decreased as sample size increased, indicating that both estimators are consistent. For a given scenario, the $${r}^{2}$$ r 2 estimates using haplotype data were more precise and less biased using haplotype data than using unphased genotype data. As sample size increased, the difference in precision and biasedness between the $${r}^{2}$$ r 2 estimates using haplotype data and unphased genotype data decreased. Conclusions Our theoretical derivations showed that estimates of LD between loci based on unphased genotypes and haplotypes in F1 crossbreds have identical expectations. Based on our simulation results, we conclude that the LD for an F1 crossbred population can be accurately estimated from unphased genotype data. The results also apply for other crosses (F2, F3, Fn, BC1, BC2, and BCn), as long as (selected) individuals from the two parental lines mate randomly.
This study used desorption electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (DESI-MS) to analyse and detect and classify biomarkers in five different animal and plant sources of milk for the first time. A range of differences in terms of features was observed in the spectra of cow milk, goat milk, camel milk, soya milk, and oat milk. Chemometric modelling was then used to classify the mass spectra data, enabling unique or significant markers for each milk source to be identified. The classification of different milk sources was achieved with a cross-validation percentage rate of 100% through linear discriminate analysis (LDA) with high sensitivity to adulteration (0.1–5% v/v). The DESI-MS results from the milk samples analysed show the methodology to have high classification accuracy, and in the absence of complex sample clean-up which is often associated with authenticity testing, to be a rapid and efficient approach for milk fraud control.
Background Deterministic predictions of the accuracy of genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV) when combining information sources have been developed based on selection index theory (SIT) and on Fisher information (FI). These two approaches have resulted in slightly different results when considering the combination of pedigree and genomic information. Here, we clarify this apparent contradiction, both for the combination of pedigree and genomic information and for the combination of subpopulations into a joint reference population. Results First, we show that existing expressions for the squared accuracy of GEBV can be understood as a proportion of the variance explained. Next, we show that the apparent discrepancy that has been observed between accuracies based on SIT vs. FI originated from two sources. First, the FI referred to the genetic component that is captured by the marker genotypes, rather than the full genetic component. Second, the common SIT-based derivations did not account for the increase in the accuracy of GEBV due to a reduction of the residual variance when combining information sources. The SIT and FI approaches are equivalent when these sources are accounted for. Conclusions The squared accuracy of GEBV can be understood as a proportion of the variance explained. The SIT and FI approaches for combining information for GEBV are equivalent and provide identical accuracies when the underlying assumptions are equivalent.
An understanding of factors influencing smallholder farmers’ livestock ownership at the household level is vital in formulating pro-poor livestock production policies and technologies. Hence, this study examined factors that influence livestock ownership of smallholder farmers. The data was collected randomly from three purposively selected study areas in the OR Tambo District (King Sabata Dalindyebo, Port St Johns and Ingquza Hill local municipalities) in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa using a cross-sectional survey of 650 households. A multivariate probit model (MPM) was used to estimate correlates of livestock species ownership at the household level. Results indicated that education, age, household income, marital status, religion, rainfall, gender, household size and employment status influence livestock species ownership at the household level. Therefore, efforts to promote livestock ownership and production should be guided by these significant explanatory variables in the study area. Interdependence among species was also noted (cattle and sheep; goats and pigs; sheep and pigs; cattle and goats; goats and sheep), suggesting complementarity among the different types of livestock species. This complementarity among the species can possibly be explained by functional diversity generic with multi-species livestock farming which is worth supporting to enhance biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, rural resource use efficiency and socio-economic sustainability at the household level.
Background Genomic selection has revolutionized genetic improvement in animals and plants, but little is known about its long-term effects. Here, we investigated the long-term effects of genomic selection on response to selection, genetic variance, and the genetic architecture of traits using stochastic simulations. We defined the genetic architecture as the set of causal loci underlying each trait, their allele frequencies, and their statistical additive effects. We simulated a livestock population under 50 generations of phenotypic, pedigree, or genomic selection for a single trait, controlled by either only additive, additive and dominance, or additive, dominance, and epistatic effects. The simulated epistasis was based on yeast data. Results Short-term response was always greatest with genomic selection, while response after 50 generations was greater with phenotypic selection than with genomic selection when epistasis was present, and was always greater than with pedigree selection. This was mainly because loss of genetic variance and of segregating loci was much greater with genomic and pedigree selection than with phenotypic selection. Compared to pedigree selection, selection response was always greater with genomic selection. Pedigree and genomic selection lost a similar amount of genetic variance after 50 generations of selection, but genomic selection maintained more segregating loci, which on average had lower minor allele frequencies than with pedigree selection. Based on this result, genomic selection is expected to better maintain genetic gain after 50 generations than pedigree selection. The amount of change in the genetic architecture of traits was considerable across generations and was similar for genomic and pedigree selection, but slightly less for phenotypic selection. Presence of epistasis resulted in smaller changes in allele frequencies and less fixation of causal loci, but resulted in substantial changes in statistical additive effects across generations. Conclusions Our results show that genomic selection outperforms pedigree selection in terms of long-term genetic gain, but results in a similar reduction of genetic variance. The genetic architecture of traits changed considerably across generations, especially under selection and when non-additive effects were present. In conclusion, non-additive effects had a substantial impact on the accuracy of selection and long-term response to selection, especially when selection was accurate.
This paper analyses how fiscal stimulus spending in response to the COVID-19 pandemic supports the low-carbon transition. We developed a new framework to categorise rescue and recovery spending measures according to their level of greenness and their type of expected impact on greenhouse gas emissions. This framework allows to better capture how measures’ emission impacts may unfold over time and to identify the share of fiscal spending missing robust conditions or incentives to be considered low carbon. We assess nearly 2500 measures announced by 26 emitters as of May 2021, representing around 67% of global GHG emissions excluding land use in 2019. Our findings show that the largest share (35%) of spending with potential GHG emission implications went to measures that cannot be explicitly coded as high-carbon or low-carbon but substantiate current business-as-usual practice (‘supporting the status quo’). Our assessment reveals the different magnitudes to which the emitters have missed the opportunity for a green recovery. Low-carbon spending is sizeable (22%) across countries. However, almost two-thirds will likely rather unfold its impact over time. This fiscal spending may trigger emissions reductions through enabling or catalytic causal effects over time but will not necessarily lead to direct emission reduction impacts before 2030.
Background Resilient animals are minimally affected by disturbances, such as diseases and heat stress, and quickly recover. Daily activity data can potentially indicate resilience, because resilient animals likely keep variations due to disturbances that threat animal homeostasis at a low magnitude. We used daily step count of cows to define resilience indicators based on theory, exploratory analysis and literature, and then investigated if they can be used to genetically improve resilience by estimating heritability and repeatability, and genetic associations with other resilience-related traits, i.e. health traits, longevity, fertility, and body condition score (BCS). Results Two groups of resilience indicators were defined: indicators describing (1) mean step count at different lactation stages for individual cows, and (2) fluctuations in step count from individual step count curves. Heritability estimates were highest for resilience indicators describing mean step count, from 0.22 for the 2-week period pre-partum to 0.45 for the whole lactation. High mean step count was consistently, but weakly, genetically correlated with good health, fertility, and longevity, and high BCS. Heritability estimates of resilience indicators describing fluctuations ranged from 0.01 for number of step count drops to 0.15 for the mean of negative residuals from individual curves. Genetic correlations with health traits, longevity, fertility, and BCS were mostly weak, but were moderate and favorable for autocorrelation of residuals (− 0.33 to − 0.44) and number of step count drops (− 0.44 to − 0.56) with hoof health, fertility, and BCS. Resilience indicators describing variability of residuals and mean of negative residuals showed strong genetic correlations with mean step count (0.86 to 0.95, absolute), which suggests that adjustment for step count level is needed. After adjustment, ‘mean of negative residuals’ was highly genetically correlated with hoof health, fertility, and BCS. Conclusions Mean step count, autocorrelation and mean of negative residuals showed most potential as resilience indicators based on resilience theory, heritability, and genetic associations with health, fertility, and body condition score. Other resilience indicators were heritable, but had unfavorable genetic correlations with several health traits. This study is an important first step in the exploration of the use of activity data to breed more resilient livestock.
This study explores the alignment between vertical coordination (VC) and horizontal coordination (HC) in Indonesian vegetable value chains. This alignment helps buyers to design efficient coordination mechanisms with regard to the production of safe and high-quality vegetables. We use a qualitative approach and describe five vegetable value chains featuring VC and HC. Within-case and cross-case analyses have been performed to develop propositions. The empirical study finds that there is a diverse combination of VC and HC mechanisms in Indonesian vegetable value chains. Strong VC correlates with high food quality and safety standards that farmers have to meet. The presence of HC through a producer organisation (PO) reduces the need for strict VC mechanisms. When VC is combined with HC through a PO, efficiency of quality and safety control increases and coordination costs decrease, ensuring better compliance with food quality and safety requirements.
It is widely recognized that participation in producer groups is advantageous for smallholders who must deal with complex production and marketing constraints and dynamic business environments. However, available data on this process are scarce in the fishery sector, while existing evidence is limited by smallholders’ potential self-selection into producer groups. This study, therefore, examined the selectivity-corrected role of fisher groups in improving shrimpers’ technological and technical efficiency. Using the latest primary data from artisan shrimpers in Nigeria, we applied propensity score matching and Greene’s selectivity stochastic production frontier model to control for selection bias from both observable and unobservable factors. Empirical results from our metafrontier approach show that technical efficiency scores for members tend to be overestimated if selectivity is not properly controlled. However, the technical efficiencies and productivities of members were significantly higher regardless of how biases were corrected, implying that participation in fisher groups is positively related to increases in shrimpers’ capture and technical efficiency. Further findings suggest that current artisanal fisher groups are “production-oriented” as they ensure that members access vital shrimping inputs at lower costs. With declining returns to scale for members, the study concludes that without public and private support for collective action in the fishery sector, membership in artisanal fisher groups may not lead to significant improvement in shrimpers’ productivity. The study discusses several recommendations on how collective action can be further encouraged and developed among artisan fishers.
Background There is growing interest in using genetic selection to obtain more resilient farm animals (i.e. that are minimally affected by disturbances or rapidly recover from them). The aims of this study were to: (i) estimate the genetic parameters of resilience indicator traits based on egg production data, (ii) assess whether these traits are genetically correlated in purebreds and crossbreds, and (iii) assess the genetic correlations of these traits with egg production (EP) as total number of eggs between 25 and 83 weeks. Purebred hens (33,825 from a White Leghorn (WA) line and 34,397 from a Rhode Island (BD) line were housed in individual cages, while crossbred hens were housed in collective cages of 6 to 8 paternal half-sibs (12,852 WA and 3898 BD crossbred groups, where the name of the group refers to the line used as the sire). Deviations of a hen’s weekly egg production from the average of the corresponding batch were calculated. Resilience indicator traits investigated were the natural logarithm of the variance (LNVAR), the skewness (SKEW), and the lag-one autocorrelation (AUTO-R) of these deviations. Results In both purebred lines, EP was estimated to be lowly heritable (WA: 0.11 and BD: 0.12). Resilience indicators were also estimated to be lowly heritable in both lines (LNVAR: 0.10 and 0.12, SKEW: 0.04 and 0.02, AUTO-R: 0.06 and 0.08 in WA and BD, respectively). In both crossbred groups, EP, AUTO-R, and SKEW were estimated to be less heritable than in purebreds (EP: $$h^{2}$$ h 2 ≤ 0.07; and resilience indicator traits: $$h^{2}$$ h 2 ≤ 0.03), while LNVAR had an $$h^{2}$$ h 2 estimate that was similar to or higher in crossbreds ( $$h^{2}$$ h 2 ranged from 0.13 to 0.21) than in purebreds. In both purebreds and crossbreds, resilience indicator traits were estimated to have favorable genetic correlations with EP and between each other. For all traits and in both lines, estimates of genetic correlations between purebreds and crossbreds ( $$r_{pc}$$ r pc ) differed from 1 and ranged from 0.16 to 0.63. Conclusions These results show that selection for resilience based on EP data can be considered in breeding programs for layers. Genetic improvement of resilience in crossbreds can be achieved by using information on purebreds, but would be greatly enhanced by the integration of information on crossbreds in breeding programs.
Background Necrotising soft tissue infections (NSTIs) are rapidly progressing bacterial infections usually caused by either several pathogens in unison (polymicrobial infections) or Streptococcus pyogenes (mono-microbial infection). These infections are rare and are associated with high mortality rates. However, the underlying pathogenic mechanisms in this heterogeneous group remain elusive. Methods In this study, we built interactomes at both the population and individual levels consisting of host-pathogen interactions inferred from dual RNA-Seq gene transcriptomic profiles of the biopsies from NSTI patients. Results NSTI type-specific responses in the host were uncovered. The S. pyogenes mono-microbial subnetwork was enriched with host genes annotated with involved in cytokine production and regulation of response to stress. The polymicrobial network consisted of several significant associations between different species ( S. pyogenes , Porphyromonas asaccharolytica and Escherichia coli ) and host genes. The host genes associated with S. pyogenes in this subnetwork were characterised by cellular response to cytokines. We further found several virulence factors including hyaluronan synthase, Sic1, Isp, SagF, SagG, ScfAB-operon, Fba and genes upstream and downstream of EndoS along with bacterial housekeeping genes interacting with the human stress and immune response in various subnetworks between host and pathogen. Conclusions At the population level, we found aetiology-dependent responses showing the potential modes of entry and immune evasion strategies employed by S. pyogenes , congruent with general cellular processes such as differentiation and proliferation. After stratifying the patients based on the subject-specific networks to study the patient-specific response, we observed different patient groups with different collagens, cytoskeleton and actin monomers in association with virulence factors, immunogenic proteins and housekeeping genes which we utilised to postulate differing modes of entry and immune evasion for different bacteria in relationship to the patients’ phenotype.
In recent years, interest in the larvae of black soldier fly (BSF) ( Hermetia illucens ) as a sustainable protein resource for livestock feed has increased considerably. However, knowledge on the nutritional and physiological aspects of this insect, especially compared to other conventional farmed animals is scarce. This review presents a critical comparison of data on the growth potential and efficiency of the BSF larvae (BSFL) compared to conventional monogastric livestock species. Advantages of BSFL over other monogastric livestock species includes their high growth rate and their ability to convert low-grade organic waste into high-quality protein and fat-rich biomass suitable for use in animal feed. Calculations using literature data suggest that BSFL are more efficient than broilers, pigs and fish in terms of conversion of substrate protein into body mass, but less efficient than broilers and fish in utilization of substrate gross energy to gain body mass. BSFL growth efficiency varies greatly depending on the nutrient quality of their dietary substrates. This might be associated with the function of their gastrointestinal tract, including the activity of digestive enzymes, the substrate particle characteristics, and their intestinal microbial community. The conceived advantage of BSFL having an environmental footprint better than conventional livestock is only true if BSFL is produced on low-grade organic waste and its protein would directly be used for human consumption. Therefore, their potential role as a new species to better close nutrient cycles in agro-ecological systems needs to be reconsidered, and we conclude that BSFL is a complementary livestock species efficiently utilizing organic waste that cannot be utilized by other livestock. In addition, we provide comparative insight into morpho-functional aspects of the gut, characterization of digestive enzymes, gut microbiota and fiber digestion. Finally, current knowledge on the nutritional utilization and requirements of BSFL in terms of macro- and micro-nutrients is reviewed and found to be rather limited. In addition, the research methods to determine nutritional requirements of conventional livestock are not applicable for BSFL. Thus, there is a great need for research on the nutrient requirements of BSFL.
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13,307 members
Bart Vermeulen
  • Department of Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management
Kasper Kok
  • Department of Soil Geography and Landscape
Willem B. Van Muiswinkel
  • Department of Cell Biology and Immunology
Nikos Kalogeras
  • Commoditidy Risk Management Expertise Center (CORMEC), Dept. of Marketing & Consumer Behaviour
Muhammad Sohail Khan
  • Centre for Crop Systems Analysis
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