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Amino Acid Digestibility and Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS)-Like Values of Black Soldier Fly Larvae Fed Different Forms and Concentrations of Calcium Using the Precision-Fed Cecectomized Rooster Assay

Abstract Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) is an alternative protein source for animals, including dogs and cats. Dietary calcium source is an essential nutrient for BSFL development in the pupal stage. Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and calcium chloride (CaCl2) are common calcium sources, but differ in solubility, acid-binding capacity, and calcium concentration. A high calcium concentration in BSFL may affect how well nitrogen and amino acids (AA) are digested by animals consuming them, thereby affecting feed conversion efficiency. Our objective was to determine the effects of dietary calcium form and concentration on nutrient composition, AA digestibility, and digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS)-like values of BSFL intended for use in animal feeds using the precision-fed cecectomized rooster assay. All BSFL tested in this study were harvested at 18 d after hatch. Industry standard rearing conditions were maintained and a commercial layer ration was fed to all BSFL until 11 d post-hatch. From d 11 to 18, BSFL were fed a combination of distiller’s dried grains with solubles from a distillery, bakery by-product meal, and varied calcium sources. All BSFL diets contained 0.2% calcium in the basal diet plus additional calcium in the following amounts and forms: BSFLA: 1.2% CaCl2; BSFLB: 1.2% CaCO3; BSFLC: 0.75% CaCO3; BSFLD: 0.6% CaCO3 + 0.6% CaCl2. At d 18, BSFL were washed and frozen. Prior to the rooster assay, BSFL were lyophilized and ground. 16 cecectomized roosters (4 roosters/substrate) were randomly assigned to test substrates. After 24 h of feed withdrawal, roosters were tube-fed 20 g of test substrates. Following crop intubation, excreta was collected for 48 h. Endogenous corrections for AA were made using 5 additional cecectomized roosters. All data were analyzed using a completely randomized design and the GLM procedure of SAS 9.4. Nutrient and AA digestibilities were not different among substrates. DIAAS-like values were calculated to determine protein quality according to Association of American Feed Control Officials nutrient profiles and National Research Council recommended allowances for dogs and cats. Although AA digestibilities did not differ, those containing CaCO3 generally had higher DIAAS-like reference values than the diet containing CaCl2 alone (BSFLA). Aromatic AA (Phe + Tyr) and sulfur AA (Met + Cys) were often first-limiting AA. Our results suggest that calcium source fed to BSFL did not affect AA digestibility and protein quality.

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