Kinney, M., M. Moyet, E. Bernard, and A. Alyokhin. 2022. Suppression of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and reduction of other bacteria by black soldier fly larvae reared on potato substrate. Microbiology Spectrum 10(5): e02321-22.

Larvae of black soldier flies, Hermetia illucens, are increasingly used for biological conversion of animal and plant wastes into ingredients of animal feeds on an industrial scale. The presence of pathogenic microorganisms in harvested larvae may be a serious problem for wide-scale adoption of this technology. Fortunately, black soldier fly larvae may have some antimicrobial properties. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium associated with various environments that can be pathogenic to humans and farmed animals. We tested whether black soldier fly larvae suppress MRSA on potato substrate. Autoclaved potatoes containing black soldier fly larvae (P+BSFL), potatoes inoculated with MRSA and containing black soldier fly larvae (P+MRSA+BSFL), and potatoes inoculated with MRSA (P+MRSA) were incubated in glass jars. Substrate samples were taken after 3 and 7 days of incubation and plated on Trypticase soy agar (TSA) and Staphylococcus medium 110 agar (SA) to quantify total bacteria and MRSA, respectively. DNA was extracted from potato substrates on both days and sequenced to assess bacterial and fungal diversity using 515F/806R and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) 1/2 primers, respectively, and QIIME 2.0 software. Both total bacterial and MRSA-specific CFU were reduced in the presence of black soldier fly larvae, with a larger reduction for the latter. Twenty-five bacterial genera and 3 fungal genera were detected. Twenty bacterial genera were shared among the treatments and the days, but their relative abundances often varied. Among the most abundant genera, only Enterococcus and Lactococcus were universally present. Our findings confirm antimicrobial properties of black soldier fly larvae. [Full Text]