Composting by Black Soldier Fly

Document Type

Contribution to Books

Publication Date


Publication Title

Handbook of Environmental Engineering: Solid Waste Engineering and Management: Volume 3


Solid waste generation around the world is rising and expected to achieve 3.40 billion tons by 2050. The waste generated must have proper waste management to reduce the effect on human health and environmental pollution. Developing countries with large populations such as India and China have produced a large amount of solid waste. Organic waste has the highest proportion in solid waste generation, which consists of food waste and animal manure. There are various methods that can be carried out to manage solid waste; one of the methods is composting where the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) can be used as a composting agent to decompose the organic waste into biomass without generating any odor and pollution to the surrounding environment. The current organic waste management and practice adopted for composting organic waste are reviewed. The design and performance of the black soldier fly are also reviewed in this chapter. A landfill is not recommended to manage the waste due to the need of large land use and leachate production. Incineration is also not suitable to manage the waste due to the high emission of toxic gases although it can reduce the waste effectively. However, both the methods are still adopted in many countries especially developing countries due to easy to operate and low cost. Composting is limited to organic waste, and fewer countries utilize this method for waste management. There are various types of composting to manage organic waste and co-composting methods to enhance the degradation of organic waste. Black soldier fly has the potential to decompose the organic waste into biomass through composting. However, rearing the black soldier fly is challenging because the growth of the black soldier fly is affected by various factors such as pH, relative humidity, light intensity, temperature, moisture content, and nutrient of the substrates. Nutrients such as protein and fat are essential for black soldier fly for growth. The substrates can undergo mixing or fermentation to enhance the nutrients to allow the black soldier fly has better growth performance. The compost materials can be used as fertilizer and soil amendment to improve the yield of the plants. The black soldier fly larvae can act as animal feed where the animal consumes the nutrients from the larvae for growth. The biodiesel can be produced by extracting the lipids from the larvae. Many countries had conducted various studies on the black soldier fly technology; however, still there are some challenges when conducting the study, especially the greenhouse gas emissions, and iterative researches must be carried out to identify the gaps and enhance the knowledge on the technology.