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Project: the role of insect larvae for the sustainable management of faecal sludge in sub-Saharan Africa

Funding Acknowledgements: PhD funded by NERC via the IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership. Host institutions are The University of Stirling and Durham University.

Sustainable management of faecal sludge from pit latrines and other on-site sanitation systems in sub-Saharan Africa constitutes a serious public and environmental health challenge. This project will explore the potential role of the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) as a faecal sludge treatment strategy. Black soldier fly larvae have proven potential in processing large volumes of organic matter, reducing volume, pathogen load, and smell, and are already used to treat municipal organic waste around the world. Black soldier fly treatment plants also offer the opportunity to recover value from faecal sludge by harvesting products from the treatment process for use in agriculture and aquaculture, which can improve food security and provide revenue to offset costs of treatment.

Project Objectives

  • Assess pathogen removal effectiveness of faecal sludge treatment by black soldier fly larvae under range of environmental conditions
  • Understand economic feasibility of municipal-scale black soldier fly processing system operating under different business models, including the marketing of processed biomass (insect frass) as fertiliser and larvae as fish/chicken feed
  • Evaluate cultural acceptability of handling and processing black soldier fly products from faecal waste in African rural and peri-urban agricultural communities


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