Moyet, M., H. Morrill, D. Leal Espinal, E. Bernard, and A. Alyokhin. 2023. Early growth patterns of Bacillus cereus on potato substrate in the presence of low densities of black soldier fly larvae. Microorganisms 11(5): 1284.

Bacillus cereus is a common and ubiquitous bacterium that can cause foodborne illnesses in humans and other animals. Common methods of contact between foodborne pathogens and their victims include exposure through contaminated food or food containment products. Using larvae of black soldier flies, Hermetia illucens, for biological conversion of wastes into components of animal feeds is a rapidly growing technology. However, contamination of larval biomass with pathogenic microorganisms may challenge its use on an industrial scale. We conducted laboratory experiments to test the effects of the black soldier fly larvae developing on simulated potato waste substrate on B. cereus abundance. We observed a general increase in the number of colony-forming units and concentration of hblD – gene when the larvae were present in the substrate, although the effect was modulated by larval densities and time since inoculation. It is possible that starch breakdown by black soldier fly larvae may provide a beneficial environment for B. cereus. Our results differ from the suppression in the presence by black soldier fly larvae reported for several other bacterial species and highlight the importance of taking proper food safety measures when using this technology.