Video3_Air-Fluidized Aggregates of Black Soldier fly Larvae.MP4 (24.65 MB)
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Video3_Air-Fluidized Aggregates of Black Soldier fly Larvae.MP4

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posted on 02.12.2021, 04:22 authored by Hungtang Ko, Grace J. Cassidy, Olga Shishkov, Enes Aydin, David L. Hu, Daniel I. Goldman

Black soldier fly larvae are a sustainable protein source and play a vital role in the emerging food-waste recycling industry. One of the challenges of raising larvae in dense aggregations is their rise in temperature during feeding, which, if not mitigated, can become lethal to the larvae. We propose applying air-fluidization to circumvent such overheating. However, the behavior of such a system involves complex air-larva interactions and is poorly understood. In this combined experimental and numerical study, we show that the larval activity changes the behavior of the ensemble when compared to passive particles such as dead larvae. Over a cycle of increasing and then decreasing airflow, the states (pressure and height) of the live larva aggregates are single-value functions of the flow speed. In contrast, dead larva aggregates exhibit hysteresis characteristic of traditional fluidized beds, becoming more porous during the ramp down of airflow. This history-dependence for passive particles is supported by simulations that couple agent-based dynamics and computational fluid dynamics. We show that the hysteresis in height and pressure of the aggregates decreases as the activity of simulated larvae increases. To test if air fluidization can increase larval food intake, we performed feeding trials in a fluidization chamber and visualized the food consumption via x-ray imaging. Although the food mixes more rapidly in faster airflow, the consumption rate decreases. Our findings suggest that providing moderate airflow to larval aggregations may alleviate overheating of larval aggregations and evenly distribute the food without reducing feeding rates.