“The latest research shows that the protein meal from the H. illucens larvae (Black Soldier Fly Larvae or BSFL) has a high amino acid content and a high digestibility of the amino acids, making this a very high-quality protein source.”
Dr Nicky Sluczanowski
petgood veterinary team
The petgood Veterinary Team together with animal nutritionists have analysed the petgood recipes in detail to ensure that the complete and balanced diets fulfil and or/exceeds the nutritional requirements recommended by FEDIAF (the European Pet Food Industry standard authority). The latest research shows that the protein meal from the H. illucens larvae (Black Soldier Fly Larvae or BSFL) has a high amino acid content and a high digestibility of the amino acids, making this a very high-quality protein source. For most companion animals, it is also a completely novel protein; and is also the only animal protein source in the petgood diet. These unique properties of petgood dog food mean the diet is ideal for dogs with both known and suspected dietary sensitivities/allergies; and can help reduce the incidence of clinical signs of food reactions, including dermatological and gastrointestinal symptoms.
petgood insect-based dog food is a complete and balanced novel protein diet, based on one animal protein source. The protein in the diet is provided by the larval stage of the Black Soldier Fly species (Hermetia illucens), a species of the Order Diptera that is widespread across all continents globally. H. illucens is not considered a pest species nor a potential disease vector; and the species has a growing number of very important applications for human use. The commercial production of the larvae of H. illucens provides a high-quality protein source, able to be utilised in aquaculture, agriculture, and the companion animal pet food industry.
A novel source of protein
The most common dietary allergens for dogs are: beef, dairy, chicken products and wheat (Hensel et al 2015). The protein meal from the H. illucens larvae (Black Soldier Fly Larvae or BSFL) is, for most companion animals, a completely novel protein; and is also the sole protein source in the petgood diet. These unique properties of petgood dog food mean the diet is ideal for dogs with both known and suspected dietary sensitivities/allergies; and can help reduce the incidence of clinical signs of food reactions, including dermatological and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Complete and balanced
The petgood complete and balanced diet fulfils and or/exceeds the nutritional requirements recommended by FEDIAF for adult dog maintenance (the European Pet Food Industry standard authority). The full list of ingredients can be found on each product page.
Amino acids with high digestibility
BSFL has a high amino acid content (McCusker et al 2014) as well as a high digestibility of the amino acids, making this a very high-quality protein source; in-vitro studies have shown the amino acid digestibility values of BSFL to be between 90.5% – 92.4% (Bosch et al 2016).
Selected research on protein quality, digestibility and feces of BSFL pet food
Evaluation of supplementation
X.J. Lei, T.H. Kim, J.H. Park, I.H. Kim (2019) “Evaluation of supplementation of defatted black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae meal in beagle dogs”, Ann. Anim. Sci., Vol. 19, No. 3 (2019) 767–777
Abstract: The objective of this experiment was to test the effects of supplementation of defatted black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae (BSFL) meal in beagle dogs. A total of nine healthy female beagles (initial body weight 12.1 ± 1.76 kg) were fed grain-based diets with three levels of BSFL meal (0, 1% or 2%) in a 42-day feeding trial. At the end of week 6 of the experiment, all dogs were intraperitoneally challenged with escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) at 100 μg/kg of body weight. Albumin concentration was linearly increased with increasing BSFL meal level (P<0.05). A linear increase (P<0.05) in calcium concentration was observed when increasing dietary BSFL meal. Although dietary treatments did not affect the digestibility of ether extract, the digestibility of dry matter and crude protein were linearly increased with increasing the level of BSFL meal. The concentration of tumor necrosis factor-α was linearly decreased but glutathione peroxidase (GPx) concentration was linearly increased when increasing the level of BSFL meal at 6 h after challenge (P<0.05). In addition, there were quadratic increases in concentrations of GPx and su- peroxide dismutase with increasing dietary BSFL meal level at 3 h after challenge (P<0.05). These findings from the present study demonstrate that BSFL meal can be supplemented in the diet to convert beneficial effects to beagle dogs, indicated as improved digestibility of dry matter and crude protein and anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative capacity.
Amino acid content
Sarah McCusker, Preston R. Buff, Zengshou Yu and Andrea J. Fascetti (2014), “Amino acid content of selected plant, algae and insect species: a search for alternative protein sources for use in pet foods”, Journal of Nutritional Science (2014), vol. 3, e39, page 1 of 5
Abstract: In response to global economic duress and heightened consumer awareness of nutrition and health, sustainable and natural ingredients are in demand. Identification of alternative sources of nitrogen and amino acids, including taurine, may help meet dietary requirements while fostering sustainability and natural feeding approaches. Twenty plants, eighteen marine algae and five insect species were analysed. All samples were freeze-dried, hydrolysed and filtered prior to amino acid analysis. Samples for amino acids were analysed in duplicate and averaged. Nitrogen was analysed and crude protein (CP) determined by calculation. With the exception of taurine concentration in soldier fly larvae, all insects exceeded both the National Research Council’s canine and feline minimal requirements (MR) for growth of all essential amino acids (EAA) and CP. Although some plants and marine algal species exceeded the canine and feline MR for growth for EAA and CP, only very low concentrations of taurine were found in plants. Taurine concentration in insects was variable but high, with the greatest concentration found in ants (6·42 mg/g DM) and adult flesh flies (3·33 mg/g DM). Taurine was also high in some macroalgae, especially the red algal species: Mazaella spp. (4·11 mg/g DM), Porphyra spp. (1·22 mg/g DM) and Chondracanthus spp. (6·28 mg/g DM). Preliminary results suggest that insects and some marine algal species may be practical alternatives to traditional protein and supplemental taurine sources in pet foods. Safety, bioavailability, palatability and source variability of alternative items as food ingredients should be investigated prior to incorporation into canine and feline diets.
Evaluation of an extruded diet
Susan Kröger, Carolin Heide , Jürgen Zentek (2020), “Evaluation of an extruded diet for adult dogs containing larvae meal from the Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens)”, Institute of Animal Nutrition, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universita ̈t Berlin, K ̈onigin-Luise- Str. 49, 14195, Berlin, Germany
Abstract: Insects have experienced an increasing interest as a protein source in recent years. However, their suitability as a protein source for dogs was not yet widely investigated. Therefore, the aim of the study was to compare two extruded diets for adult dogs containing either larvae meal from black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens; HI) or lamb meal as the predominant protein source with regard to apparent fecal nutrient digestibility and the influence on fecal and immunological parameters. Twelve Beagles were used in this cross-over study and divided into two groups. The test diet with 200 g/kg HI larvae meal (HI) was compared with a control diet containing lamb meal (CON). Dogs were fed each diet for a period of five weeks. Blood samples for a complete blood count, lymphocyte phenotyping and lymphocyte proliferation tests were taken at the end of each feeding period. The latter was either mitogen- or feed antigen-induced with different protein concen- trations of HI larvae meal (30–500 μg protein/mL). Fecal samples were collected for five days during each feeding period. The coefficient of the total apparent fecal digestibility (CTTAD) of macronutrients, fecal metabolites, the output and the dry matter content of the feces were analyzed. D-Glucosamine as indicator for chitin was analyzed by high-performance anion-ex- change chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection in the diet and the feces. The chi- tinase activity was determined in the feces. The fecal output was reduced in dogs fed the HI diet (P = 0.038). The CTTAD of dry matter was higher (P = 0.002) when dogs were fed HI compared to CON (0.832 vs. 0.818) and the CTTAD of crude protein was higher (P = 0.002) when dogs received CON compared to HI (0.792 vs. 0.773). Concentrations of acetate (P = 0.011) and ammonium (P = 0.001) were higher in CON. The fecal score differed (P = 0.041) between HI (2.25) and CON (2.04), but both feeding groups had a formed and dry fecal consistency. The chitin concentration was numerically higher in the feces of dogs fed HI (92.2 g/kg DM) compared to CON (2.9 g/kg DM), the fecal chitinase activity did not differ between both diets. Complete blood counts, lymphocyte phenotyping and proliferation were not affected. In conclusion, the HI larvae meal in a dry dog diet was tolerated without adverse signs and did not affect immuno- logical measurements compared to a commercial dry diet with lamb meal, indicating that larvae meal from HI can be considered an “alternative” protein source for dog nutrition.
Digestibility and safety
Tarra A Freel, Alejandra McComb, Elizabeth A Koutsos “Digestibility and safety of dry black soldier fly larvae meal and black soldier fly larvae oil in dogs”, Journal of Animal Science, Volume 99, Issue 3, March 2021, skab047
Abstract: Two trials were conducted to assess the acceptance, safety and digestibility of diets containing various inclusion levels of partially defatted black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae (BSFL) meal and BSFL oil by dogs. In trial 1, 5 extruded diets were evaluated for acceptance in adult Beagle dogs (n = 20; 10 male, 10 female) during a 48-hr period. Diets contained graded levels of BSFL meal (5.0%, 10.0%, and 20.0%), or graded levels of BSFL oil (2.5% and 5.0%), and all diets were well accepted. Thus, a digestibility trial (trial 2) was run with 56 adult dogs (16 male, 40 female) allocated into 7 dietary treatments; dogs were offered an extruded control diet containing no BSFL meal or oil, or extruded diets where BSFL meal partially replaced poultry by-product meal and corn meal at dietary levels of 5%, 10%, or 20% inclusion, or diets with BSFL oil partially replacing poultry fat at a 1:1 ratio at levels of 1%, 2.5%, or 5% inclusion. The treatment diets were fed for 28 d, during which time dogs were monitored for health (via physical examinations, clinical observations, and blood chemistry and hematology) and ingredient evaluation (via body weight, feed consumption, stool observation, and fecal nutrient apparent total tract digestibility). There were no significant differences in body weight or food consumption between treatment groups (P > 0.05) and daily observations indicated that the general health of the animals was maintained throughout the study. Stool quality was maintained at 3.2 to 3.4 (on a 5-point scale with a score of 1 being watery diarrhea and a score of 5 being hard, dry, and crumbly) per treatment group over the fecal observation period (days 22 to 27), indicating a well formed, sticky stool. All group mean hematology and blood chemistry parameters remained within normal limits for dogs. Apparent total tract digestibility of dry matter, protein, fat, and calories was not affected by treatment (P > 0.05). In general, amino acid digestibility was not impacted by treatment although some minor changes were observed. Apparent total tract digestibility was high for all nutrients examined. Overall, it was concluded that BSFL meal and BSFL oil are well tolerated by dogs and their consumption results in no impact to physiology that would be concerning. Based on these data, BSFL meal and oil did not affect general health and could be included safely in dog diets.
True nutrient and amino acid digestibility
Sungho Do, Elizabeth Koutsos, Kelly S Swanson, “PSIII-26 True nutrient and amino acid digestibility of black soldier fly larvae fed different forms and concentrations of calcium using the precision-fed cecectomized rooster assay”, Journal of Animal Science, Volume 97, Issue Supplement_3, December 2019, Pages 277–278, https://doi.org/10.1093/jas/skz258.563
Abstract: Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) is an alternative protein source for animals, including dogs and cats. The larval diet may affect their nutrient composition and overall nutritional value. Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and calcium chloride (CaCl2) are common Ca sources, but differ in solubility (CaCO3 is insoluble; CaCl2 is soluble), so their intestinal absorption may differ. In addition, the Ca form and concentration may decrease mineral utilization and nitrogen digestibility, thereby affecting feed conversion efficiency. Our objective was to determine the effects of different forms and concentrations of Ca on true nutrient and amino acid (AA) digestibility of BSFL intended for use in animal feeds using the precision-fed cecectomized rooster assay. All animal procedures were approved by the University of Illinois Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee prior to experimentation. 16 cecectomized roosters (4 roosters/substrate) were randomly assigned to test substrates. All contained 0.2% Ca in the commercial diet and additional Ca in these amounts and forms: BSFLA: 1.33% CaCl2; BSFLB: 1.0% CaCO3; BSFLC: 0.6% CaCO3; BSFLD: 0.5% CaCO3 + 0.7% CaCl2. After 24h of feed withdrawal, roosters were tube-fed 20g of test substrates. Following crop intubation, excreta was collected for 48h. Endogenous corrections for AA were made using 5 additional cecectomized roosters. All data were analyzed using SAS 9.4. True macronutrient and AA digestibilities were not different among substrates. Digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS)-like values were calculated to determine protein quality according to AAFCO and NRC recommended allowances for dogs and cats. Although AA digestibilities did not differ among groups, those containing CaCO3 generally had higher DIAAS-like values than the diet containing CaCl2 alone (BSFLA). Threonine, methionine, and arginine were often the first-limiting AA. Our results suggest that Ca source fed to BSFL did not affect AA digestibility and protein quality, despite affecting total calcium content of the BSFL.