In March, we collaborated with PetFood Industry to host a webinar on incorporating protein and oil from Black Soldier Fly grubs into the diets of adult dogs. More than 600 people registered for the webinar to hear from Brad Ewankiw (Enterra’s Product Line Manager for Feed) and Serge Boutet (Agrologist expert in animal nutrition and owner of SB Nutrinnov Consultants).
A lively Q&A followed the presentation on EnterraProtein™, EnterraOil™ and the trial results. Here are a few of our favourite questions.
Q: How much Black Soldier Fly does Enterra produce?
A: Our first facility is nearing capacity, which will allow for an annual production of 4,000 MT of product, with a mix of whole dried larvae, protein meal and oil. Over time, the company will expand to new locations, increasing capacity to keep up with demand.
Q: What types of protein meal should we be looking at combining with Black Soldier Fly (BSF) ingredients?
A: Many customers have had success when combining Black Soldier Fly and protein meal with other animal sources such as chicken, fish, and others, as well as vegetable sources of protein. It all depends on the goal of inclusion: BSF ingredients are produced very efficiently, so can be used to bring down the environmental impact of an animal-based food or to enhance the taste or functional benefits of a “sustainable protein” based food.
Q: How can BSF oil be used in pet food production?
A: BSF oil has been used as a fat ingredient, mixed right into pet food, and also as a post-extrusion spray onto the kibble to provide palatant benefits. Because of the unique unsaturated fat vs. saturated fat ratio of Black Soldier Fly oil, it maintains the consistency of butter at room temperature, which requires it to be heated for use as an ingredient.
Q: How does Enterra know that BSF ingredients are hypoallergenic?
A: The claim of “potential hypoallergenic ingredient” is due to Black Soldier Fly having not been previously introduced to the target animal. Common foods that trigger allergic reactions in dogs include dairy, beef, soy, fish, wheat, chicken, lamb, and rabbit. BSF, and other insect ingredients, are similar to crustaceans, so may cause allergic reactions if an animal has allergies to shrimp. Pet owners who try BSF and witness symptoms like excessive scratching and feet licking, ear inflammation, inflamed skin, chronic gas, and diarrhea should contact a veterinarian immediately.
Q: How does the insoluble fiber (from chitin) affect protein digestibility and/or stool quality?
A: One of the important characteristics of BSF production is ensuring they are harvested at the proper timing. Chitin levels increase in larvae as they mature into pupae. If chitin levels are allowed to increase to too high of a level, it will have an effect on protein digestibility and potentially stool quality. With proper management of harvest, we have seen great success with digestibility study results up to 30% inclusion.
Q: How does Enterra know that BSF ingredients have antimicrobial properties?
A: Black Soldier Fly ingredients have a substantial amount of medium–chain fatty acids (MCFA) such as lauric and capric acid as well as chitin which comes from the exoskeleton. There have been extensive studies showing that medium–chain fatty acids have antimicrobial effects on gram positive bacteria and have shown benefit in feeding studies. Other studies have shown that chitin and chitosan (present with chitin) have prebiotic benefits and antimicrobial effects. BSF also has antimicrobial peptides, however, research is sparse on whether they show a true benefit.
See the rest of the questions that pet food industry folks asked in the webinar.