Dynamic modelling of feed assimilation, growth, lipid accumulation, and CO2 production in black soldier fly larvae

Niels Thomas Eriksen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


The black soldier fly (BSF) is becoming a novel farm animal. BSF larvae can be reared on different substrates. Their performance is important but highly variable and different models have been employed to analyze their growth, so far without considering that metabolic rates, growth, and biochemical composition of the larvae are interrelated. This work develops a dynamic model, which describes general growth patterns of BSF larvae and predicts observed variability in larval performances. The model was tested against data from literature, which combines kinetic growth data with measurements of lipid or dry weight content, and CO2 production. The model combines the kinetics of the logistic model with principles from differential energy budget models and considers key events in larval life history, moulting and metamorphosis. Larvae are compartmentised into structural biomass, storage lipids, and a pool of assimilates. Feed assimilation is considered the overall rate limiting process and is reduced in relation to larval weight by a logistic function. A second logistic function further reduces the specific growth rate of structural biomass, causes imbalance between and feed assimilation and growth rates, and leaves a surplus of assimilates to be stored as lipids. Fluxes between compartments consider cost of synthesis of structural biomass and lipids, as well as maintenance. When assimilation falls below maintenance needs, storage lipids are recycled. The model is able to describe growth and lipid contents of BSF larvae reared on chicken feed, growth of feed limited BSF larvae, as well as growth, dry weight content, and CO2 production of BSF larvae reared on different substrate qualities and moisture contents. The model may be used for the analysis of growth and performance of BSF larvae under variable rearing conditions. It can deepen the analyses of experimental data and provide insight into the causes of variability of larval performances.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0276605
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Animals
  • Larva
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Animal Feed/analysis
  • Diptera
  • Lipids


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