A Protein-Based Material from a New Approach Using Whole Defatted Larvae, and Its Interaction with Moisture.


KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Engineering Sciences of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health, Fibre and Polymer Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden. [Email]


A protein-based material created from a new approach using whole defatted larvae of the Black Soldier fly is presented. The larvae turn organic waste into their own biomass with high content of protein and lipids, which can be used as animal feed or for material production. After removing the larva lipid and adding a plasticizer, the ground material was compression molded into plates/films. The lipid, rich in saturated fatty acids, can be used in applications such as lubricants. The amino acids present in the greatest amounts were the essential amino acids aspartic acid/asparagine and glutamic acid/glutamine. Infrared spectroscopy revealed that the protein material had a high amount of strongly hydrogen-bonded β-sheets, indicative of a highly aggregated protein. To assess the moisture⁻protein material interactions, the moisture uptake was investigated. The moisture uptake followed a BET type III moisture sorption isotherm, which could be fitted to the Guggenheim, Anderson and de Boer (GAB) equation. GAB, in combination with cluster size analysis, revealed that the water clustered in the material already at a low moisture content and the cluster increased in size with increasing relative humidity. The clustering also led to a peak in moisture diffusivity at an intermediate moisture uptake.


Black Soldier fly,larva,lipid,moisture sorption,plastic,protein,

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