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Intestinal microbiota and functional characteristics of black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens)

Intestinal microbiota and functional characteristics of black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens) Purpose: Black soldier fly transforms organic waste into insect protein and fat, which makes it valuable for ecological utilization. This process is associated with the intestinal microbiota. This research was developed to determine the type and functional characteristics of intestinal microbiota present in black soldier fly larvae. Methods: In this research, metagenomics has been used to study black soldier fly larvae gut bacteria, which involves the high abundance of the gut microbe advantage bacterium group, the impact, and the physiological functions of the microbiota. Furthermore, intestinal bacteria and their related functions were investigated by bioinformatics analysis to evaluate potential microbial strains that may be used to improve feed utilization efficiency in factory farming. Result: The results showed that black soldier fly larvae’s intestine contains more than 11,000 bacteria. The high relative abundance of group W (larvae fed with 75% wheat bran and 25% soybean powder) may promote feed utilization efficiency, whereas high relative abundance of group T microbiota (larvae fed with 75% wheat bran and 25% soybean powder supplemented with 1% tetracycline) may play an important role in black soldier fly larvae survival. Conclusion: The gut bacteria in black soldier fly larvae were involved in polysaccharide biosynthesis and metabolism, translation, membrane transport, energy metabolism, cytoskeleton, extracellular structures, inorganic ion transport and metabolism, nucleotide metabolism, and coenzyme transport physiological processes. The 35 significant differential microbes in group W may have a positive impact on feed utilization and physiological process. Keywords: Hermetia illucens, Intestinal bacteria, Utilization efficiency, Metagenomics Background researches consider diverse protocols to improve its waste Black soldier fly Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) utilization efficiency. Intestinal microorganisms are in- larvae are commonly used to recycle organic waste (van volved in several insect functions, including nutritional Huis 2013). They feed on organic waste including live- coordination (Douglas 1998), defense against plant toxins stock manure (Rehman et al. 2017;Beskinet al. 2018), (Hammer and Bowers 2015), physiological response food waste (Nguyen et al. 2015), and organic waste (Li (Bassetetal. 2000;Lietal. 2016), life span increase et al. 2011). The black soldier fly is currently used as a tool (Hoytetal. 1971), influence on the development and for waste transformation and utilization, but few reproductive potential (Gavriel et al. 2011;Prado and Almeida 2009), and detoxifying of specific foods * Correspondence: lsszhou@mail.sysu.edu.cn (Hehemann et al. 2010), among others. Collectively, The School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, insect intestinal microorganisms play a crucial role in China the growth and development of insects. Other studies Full list of author information is available at the end of the article © The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 2 of 9 have shown that bacteria in insects’ gut play an important Results role in promoting food utilization. In this regard, gut bac- Data quality assessment teria of wood-feeding higher termite promote cellulose Raw reads obtained from contig sequencing were assem- and xylan hydrolysis (Warnecke et al. 2007), whereas bled with the software MEGAHIT (Gurevich et al. 2013) Odontotaenius disjunctus intestinal microbiota contributes in default parameter. Contig sequences shorter than 300 to lignocellulose decomposition (Ceja-Navarro et al. bp were discarded, and the assembly results were evalu- 2019). Studies of black soldier fly larvae gut microbes in- ated by QUAST (Zhu et al. 2010) with the default par- clude antibacterial peptide active substances extraction ameter. The results demonstrated that the number of (Park et al. 2015), intestinal specific microbiota (Xie 2010), contig in different experimental groups was about 600, conserved microbiota analysis (Shelomi et al. 2020), and 000 and greatly varied in length. The N50 length was active enzymes analysis and identification (Kim et al. about 1000–1200 bp with the alignment rate exceeding 2011; Lee et al. 2014, 2016). A recent review evaluated 95% (Table 1). black soldier fly larva microbial community and pros- MetaGeneMark (Fu et al. 2012) was used to identify pected its feasibility to utilization improvement (De Smet coding regions in the genome with default parameters. et al. 2018). Furthermore, a relevant research finished an Gene prediction was conducted according to the assem- in-depth study to classify the positive influence of the gut bled contigs. The number of genes in different samples microbiota of black soldier fly larvae (Bruno et al. 2019). was about 500,000. The average gene length measured However, there is scarce research focused on biological in each sample was in the range of 260 to 340 bp. The function analysis of black soldier fly larvae’s gut micro- Cd-hit software (version 4.6.6) was used to remove the biota. In addition, no research has been performed to redundancy with default parameters; the similarity search for microbiota that enhance feed utilization effi- threshold was set at 95% and the coverage threshold at ciency. It then becomes necessary to develop research to 90% (Fu et al. 2012). It was concluded that there were 2, better understand the black soldier fly larvae’s microbiota 168,041 non-redundant genes obtained in this sequence characteristics and functions. process, with an average length of 280 bp (Table 2). Metagenomics research is a useful tool in gut microbe research, whose information is based on sequencing Species information statistics data (Furrie 2006). Based on the development of this The species composition and relative abundance of the technology, many unculturable microbes have been samples were obtained by comparing the above non- studied and analyzed (Handelsman 2004). In this con- redundant genes with the species information of the se- cern, metagenomics research has expanded the min- quence in the Nr database (Ashburner et al. 2000). The ing of microbial community structure and function in intestinal microbial species of the black soldier fly larvae the environment. To evaluate the black soldier fly lar- in different groups were counted in taxa of the kingdom, vae’s intestinal bacteria biological function and screen phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. The gut the potential microbial strain that may be exploited larvae microbiota was abundant, reaching more than to improve feed utilization efficiency in factory farm- 2300 genera and 11,000 species. The number of micro- ing, such bacteria were systematically analyzed bial species on different taxa in different groups was through metagenomics. relatively similar, but a significant difference was Table 1 Assembled data assessment Sample Total length (bp) Contig number Largest length (bp) GC (%) N50 (bp) Mapped (%) F1 713,374,913 679,554 332,933 41.78 1115 97.07 F2 601,410,151 594,324 264,723 41.58 1061 95.68 F3 621,800,601 613,040 315,309 41.63 1065 95.84 T1 573,217,820 519,415 184,590 41.85 1194 96.05 T2 716,521,041 613,618 721,453 41.86 1290 97.17 T3 649,395,570 557,814 186,681 42.01 1287 96.87 W1 604,749,023 581,793 363,719 42.28 1072 95.93 W2 712,670,354 668,870 399,518 42.11 1116 96.38 W3 680,722,887 639,170 744,843 42.37 1108 96.35 Sample is the sample number; total length is the sum of the base numbers of all contigs; contig numbers are the numbers of contigs after assembly; largest length is the number of bases in the longest contig; N50 are contigs that were sorted from long to short, and the cumulative length was counted. When a contig was added and the cumulative length was equal to half of the sum of the lengths of all contigs, the length of the contig was N50; Mapped is the alignment rate between sequencing reads and assembled contigs Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 3 of 9 Table 2 Predicted genes overview Sample ID Gene number Total length (bp) Average (bp) Max length (bp) Min length (bp) F1 550,158 152,574,384 277 7536 102 F2 464,889 125,423,319 269 9972 102 F3 485,384 132,226,104 272 7536 102 T1 426,498 117,609,837 275 8286 102 T2 531,807 152,545,194 286 8175 102 T3 472,169 132,783,018 281 8904 102 W1 506,309 164,800,824 325 12,033 102 W2 579,598 184,957,656 319 10,866 102 W3 576,423 195,543,927 339 11,607 102 Gene set 2,168,041 608,038,053 280 12,033 102 Samples is the sample number; gene numbers is the number of predicted genes; total length is the base sum of predicted genes; average length is the average bases of predicted genes observed in genus between groups W and T. In general, composition of the samples between the same treatment the intestinal microbe species of group W were higher, groups were comparable (Fig. 2a, c). but not in a significant level than those of groups F and Principal component analysis (PCA) decomposes the T (Table 3). differences of multiple sets of data on the two- dimensional coordinate chart through processing complex Analysis of high-abundant bacteria in the intestinal tract data into two eigenvalues. Composition analysis of differ- of black soldier fly larvae ent samples (97% similarity) reflects differences and dis- The resulting top 15 high abundance bacteria were se- tances between samples. The composition of the species lected for comparison. The results showed that the rela- in the two samples is similar, when they come closer on a tively high abundance of bacteria at the level of phylum PCA diagram. The results showed that the same sample and genus was highly comparable (Fig. 1). The highest in the same group was closer to each other, which demon- relative abundance of bacteria belonged to Proteobac- strated that the microbial composition and functional teria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria gene composition were comparable. The sum of the first phyla. The highest abundance of bacteria at the species dimension (98.4%) and the second dimension (1.13%) level were Enterococcus, Acinetobacter, Providencia, En- reached 99.53%, which explains the difference between terobacter, and Myroides. the different groups to a great extent (Fig. 2b, d). Similarity analysis of microbial and functional genes Analysis of differential microbes between groups About 100 species were selected (p < 0.05) to draw differen- The microbiota and functional gene composition of the tial heatmaps. According to the heatmap, there exists 35 samples were hierarchically clustered through R and the high relative abundance species in group W (Faecalicatena unweighted paired average method (UPGMA). Based on contorta, Stenotrophomonas acidaminiphila, Sphingobacter- this, the similarity of species composition and functional ium cellulitidis, Salana multivorans, Enterococcus sp. gene composition of each sample was determined. The Gos25−1, Lachnospiraceae bacterium OF09-33XD, Pusilli- sample distance in the sample hierarchy clustering indi- monas caeni, Hungatella hathewayi, Sphingobacterium sp. cates the similarity of the species composition of the two 30C10-4-7, Stenotrophomonas sp. Leaf70, Pusillimonas sp. samples. The results showed that samples in the same T7-7, uncultured Stenotrophomonas sp., Frischella perrara, groups are closer and the branches are shorter; there- Myroides sp. N17-2, Microbacterium sp. CH12i, Ochrobac- fore, the microbial species structure and functional gene trum sp. A44, Microbacterium ginsengiterrae, Kluyvera Table 3 Microbial species statistics Group Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species F 6 115.33 ± 1.15 124.67 ± 1.15 269.67 ± 1.53 623.33 ± 0.58 2309.67 ± 9.61 ab 11,510.33 ± 25.50 T 6 115.33 ± 1.53 125.33 ± 0.58 269.33 ± 2.08 619 ± 5.20 2283 ± 7.81 a 11,432.33 ± 68.72 W 6 111.67 ± 1.15 125.33 ± 1.15 269.67 ± 0.58 622 ± 3.46 2321.67 ± 10.11 b 11,880 ± 17.09 Data are indicated ad means ± standard error. Non-parametric ANOVA was used to analyze the data in the same column. Different letters in the same column indicate a significant difference(p < 0.05) between the groups Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 4 of 9 Fig. 1 Relative abundance microbiota analysis in the phylum and genus. a Relative abundance microbiota analysis in the phylum. b Relative abundance microbiota analysis in the genus. F1, F2, and F3 are replicates of group F; T1, T2, and T3 are replicates of group T; W1, W2, and W3 are replicates of group W georgiana, Sphingobacterium gobiense, Myroides odoratus, grimontii, Bacteroides caccae, Variovorax sp. EL159, Soli- Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterococcus pallens, Sphingobac- bacillus isronensis, Proteus mirabilis, Actinomyces sp., terium lactis, Candidatus Schmidhempelia bombi, Aequori- Staphylococcus lentus, Rozella allomycis, Ignatzschineria vita soesokkakensis, Vitellibacter aquimaris, Enterococcus sp. F8392, Leucobacter triazinivorans, Campylobacter con- sp. 9D6 DIV0238, Providencia stuartii, Miniimonas sp. cisus, Bacteroides sp. 1 1 14, Azospira oryzae). The rela- PCH200, Gilliamella apicola, Orbus hercynius, Sphingobac- tively high abundance species of the different groups terium mizutaii, Sphingobacterium sp. 1.A.4, Microbacter- concentrate on different species without obvious overlap ium profundi, Thermus filiformis), 34 in group T in the heatmap. Although the relatively high abundance (Dysgonomonas capnocytophagoides, Allomyces macrogy- species of the differential species in group F was the low- nus, Enterococcus sp. 9E7 DIV0242, Candidatus Erwinia est, the relatively low abundance species were also less dacicola, Enterococcus sp. 4G2 DIV0659, Propionibacteria- than the other two groups (Fig. 3). ceae bacterium 16Sb5-5, Desulfovibrio sp. DS-1, Marinifi- lum breve, Tatumella sp. UCD-D suzukii, Bacillus Analysis of differential functional gene velezensis, Staphylococcus gallinarum, Staphylococcus sciuri, The heatmap of different functional genes was obtained Dysgonomonas sp. Marseille-P4361, Klebsiella aerogenes, through a parametric test. The heatmap of the Kegg Providencia rettgeri, Mycolicibacterium mucogenicum, (Kanehisa et al. 2004) metabolic pathways in differential Corynebacterium nuruki, Ruaniaceae bacterium KH17, abundance gene shows that groups possess differences Corynebacterium stationis, Enterococcus sp. 6C8 in polysaccharide biosynthesis and metabolism, transla- DIV0013, Enterococcus faecium, Providencia rustigia- tion, membrane transport, and energy metabolism. nii, Wohlfahrtiimonas populi, Weissella jogaejeotgali, Group W results showed the highest relative abundance Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, Enterococcus casseliflavus, in four biological processes, group F maintained middle- Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron CAG:40, Weissella thai- level abundance in those four-biological process, and landensis, Enterobacter hormaechei, Staphylococcus group T showed low abundance in those four biological xylosus, Enterococcus saccharolyticus, Carnobacterium processes (Fig. 4a). The EggNOG (Powell et al. 2014) maltaromaticum, Spizellomyces punctatus), and 22 in heatmap evidences the differences of the cytoskeleton, group F (Citrobacter sp. MH181794, Schaalia canis, extracellular structures, inorganic ion transport and me- Metarhizium majus, Candida maltose, Nosocomiicoccus tabolism, nucleotide transport and metabolism, and co- massiliensis, Lactobacillus sp. 54-5, Dysgonomonas gadei, enzyme transport and metabolism in different groups. Dorea longicatena, Prevotella sp. 10(H), Leminorella Group W showed a high abundance in extracellular Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 5 of 9 Fig. 2 Analysis of the similarity of microbial and functional gene composition. a UPGMA (unweighted pin-group method with arithmetic mean) cluster analysis of microorganisms among samples. b Principal component analysis of microbial composition between samples. c UPGMA analysis of functional gene composition among samples. d Principal component analysis of microbe composition between samples structure, inorganic ion transport and metabolism, nu- bacteria in the black soldier fly larvae gut, indicating the cleotide metabolism and transport, and coenzyme trans- presence of highly abundant microbes in the gut. It is port and metabolism, whereas the related functional genes relatively similar among different groups in each taxo- of the cytoskeleton in group T showed relatively high nomic order, indicating that different feeds had a limited abundance. The extracellular structures of group F were influence on the overall microbial community. The top comparable to those of group W, whereas the other cat- 15 high abundance microbes in the class and genus ana- egories were less than those of group W (Fig. 4b). lysis results demonstrated that there was no apparent difference between the groups. The results indicate that Discussion feed played a slight role in the core gut microbiota of The N50 length of assembly sequence was about 1100 black soldier fly larvae, which was consistent with pub- bp, with an alignment rate exceeding 95%, whereas the lished research (Klammsteiner et al. 2020). The highest contig number of a single sample reached 600,000, relative abundance bacteria belonged to the Proteobac- which means that this data assembly quality meets the teria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria requirement of research and analysis. Gene number of a phyla. It showed some differences with Jeon et al.’s single sample up to 550,000 suggests that the sequencing (2011) results, which included Bacteroidetes, Proteobac- depth is enough for subsequent microbial biological ana- teria, Firmicutes, Fusobacteria, and Actinobacteria. lysis. Moreover, the results of intestinal microbial statis- Among those bacteria, Proteobacteria was observed as a tics showed that there were over 11,000 intestinal potential microbial signature of disease, Firmicutes was Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 6 of 9 Fig. 3 The heatmap of differential microbe in species. The x-axis represents the different treatment replicates; the y-axis represents the differential microbe in different replicates considered to play an important role in the digestion of The intergroup similarity analysis of microbial species animal manure, and Bacteroidetes were shown to de- and functional genes demonstrates that both feeds and grade high-molecular weight organic matter (Zhan et al. tetracycline had an impact on the intestinal microbial 2020). Taken together, the larvae gut core microbiota fa- community structure of the black soldier fly larvae. The cilitated degradation of animal manure and organic mat- intestinal microbial community structure of larvae fed ter, which may provide microbial evidence for Kim under a similar environment was comparable, which et al.’s(2011) research. However, we should be more agrees with other studies (Jiang 2018; Tanaka et al. 2006; cautious to adopt black soldier larvae protein as edible Liang et al. 2014; Bruno et al. 2019). Furthermore, our for Proteobacteria in its gut (Wang and Shelomi 2017). results agreed with (Engel et al. 2013) in that the diet Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 7 of 9 Fig. 4 Analysis of difference groups between functional genes. a Heatmap of differentially functional gene abundance in the Kegg metabolic pathway. b Heatmap of differentially functional genes in the eggNOG metabolic pathway. Genes shown have p values < 0.05, after metagenome sequencing analysis shapes the composition and activity of the gut micro- involved in the development and feeding (Cai et al. biota. Heatmap analysis results demonstrated that differ- 2018; Cifuentes et al. 2020), showing a great difference ent treatments influence some microbes in the black with mycotoxins and pesticides (Purschke et al. 2017). soldier fly larvae. A similar trend shown in function However, naval approaches are necessary to investigate genes indicates a relation between differential microbes this issue. The functional gene in group W displayed a and function genes. We can then infer that those mi- high level in cell structure, inorganic ion transport and crobes play a crucial role in black soldier fly larvae metabolism, nucleotide metabolic process, and coen- growth and development, which agrees with De Smet zyme transport and metabolism, which indicate that the et al.’s(2018) conclusion. From these results, we may relatively high abundance of differential microbiota in conclude the relatively high abundance microbiota in group W is essential in these biological processes. Based group W (35) and group F (22) play an important role in on the aforementioned result, we conclude that the 35 growth and development, whereas the relatively high differential microbes in group W were mainly associated abundance microbiota in group T (34) are relevant for with energy metabolism which influences growth a lot, black soldier fly larvae to survive in harsh conditions. whereas the 34 differential microbes in group T were re- However, further research is required to address such lated to survival in harsh environments. The present assumptions. Combining heatmap of Kegg and eggNOG study provided a better understanding of the intestinal analysis in differential function genes showed that rela- microbiota of black soldier fly larvae; however, it did not tive function gene abundance of groups W, F, and T fully address the relation between microbes and func- gradually reduces polysaccharide biosynthesis and me- tion. We have research underway to elucidate such a tabolism, translation, and membrane transport and en- relationship. ergy metabolism which associate with feeding. Hereby, we inferred that the 35 differential microbiota in group Conclusion W were closely related to feeding. Furthermore, we be- The present study demonstrated that gut bacteria in black lieve that the differential microbiota in different groups soldier fly larvae were involved in polysaccharide biosyn- play an important role in such biological process. Group thesis and metabolism, translation, membrane transport, T has a relatively high abundance of functional genes in energy metabolism, cytoskeleton, extracellular structures, the cytoskeleton indicating that the relatively high abun- inorganic ion transport and metabolism, nucleotide me- dance of differential microbiota in group T was related tabolism, and coenzyme transport physiological processes. to the cytoskeleton, which may be due to the inhibitory The 35 significant differential microbes in group W have a effect of tetracycline on some essential microbes positive impact on energy metabolism and physiological Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 8 of 9 process which could be exploited to improve transform ef- was used to evaluate assembly results, whereas Meta- ficiency. Subsequent studies will explore the function of GeneMark (Fu et al. 2012) was used to predict the en- specific differential high relative abundance microbes in coding genes and perform functional annotation on the group W and evaluate the possibility of improving farming encoding genes in general database and special database. efficiency with those microbiotas. Those bioinformatics analysis tools were kept in default parameter while analysis performing. Taxonomic ana- Methods lysis was performed based on clean reads data. Further- The research aims at exploring the relation between more, species composition, abundance information, and black soldier fly larvae and its intestinal microbiota. function genes of the samples were statistically analyzed. Fourth to 5th stage black soldier fly larvae fed with var- ied feeds were selected to study the intestinal micro- Statistical analyses biota. In order to avoid accidental outcomes, we set 3 The statistics in this research were analyzed in Prism repeats (10 individuals for 1 repeat) for every treatment. GraphPad 8; the figures were drawn through R. The metagenomic method which is a practical tool was Acknowledgements utilized to achieve our goal. We thank Beijing Biomarker Technologies for providing the data analysis services. The authors would like to express their gratitude to EditSprings (https://www.editsprings.com/) for the expert linguistic services provided. Insect sources and breeding Black soldier fly eggs and larvae were partly acquired Authors’ contributions from Guangzhou Anruijie Environmental Protection All authors contributed to the study conception and design. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Yuan Zhineng, and all authors commented Technology Limited company, all of them were trapped on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the in a field and reared in 25 °C, 16 h photoperiod, 60–70% final manuscript. relative humidity feed for 30 generations. After hatching from eggs, black soldier fly larvae were Funding The National Key R&D Program of China (grant number 2017YFF0210204) incubating with 75% wheat bran, 25% soybean powder supported this research but was not involve in the design of the study; (group W), food waste (group F), or 75% wheat bran and collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and writing of the 25% soybean powder supplemented with 1% tetracycline manuscript. (group T) for 10 days. Then, 10 4–5th stage larvae were Declarations selected in each group for intestinal anatomy, perform- ing triplicate determinations. Ethics approval and consent to participate No approval of research ethics committees was required to accomplish the goals of this study because experimental work was conducted with an Intestinal dissection of black soldier fly larvae unregulated invertebrate species. The larvae were utilized to experiment Black soldier fly larvae were starved for 24 h, after which without abuse or maltreatment. All authors understand that my participation is voluntary and agree to participate in the above research. they were washed with sterile water and inactivated for 10 min at − 20 °C. Next, they were surface sterilized with Consent for publication 75% alcohol and washed with sterile water. Larva intes- Written informed consent for publication was obtained from all participants. tines were dissected out with sterile scissors and twee- Competing interests zers on a sterile operating table, eliminating intestinal The authors declare that they have no competing interests. adhesions. 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Entomol Exp Appl 132(1):21–29 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annals of Microbiology Springer Journals

Intestinal microbiota and functional characteristics of black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens)

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2021
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10.1186/s13213-021-01626-8
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Abstract

Purpose: Black soldier fly transforms organic waste into insect protein and fat, which makes it valuable for ecological utilization. This process is associated with the intestinal microbiota. This research was developed to determine the type and functional characteristics of intestinal microbiota present in black soldier fly larvae. Methods: In this research, metagenomics has been used to study black soldier fly larvae gut bacteria, which involves the high abundance of the gut microbe advantage bacterium group, the impact, and the physiological functions of the microbiota. Furthermore, intestinal bacteria and their related functions were investigated by bioinformatics analysis to evaluate potential microbial strains that may be used to improve feed utilization efficiency in factory farming. Result: The results showed that black soldier fly larvae’s intestine contains more than 11,000 bacteria. The high relative abundance of group W (larvae fed with 75% wheat bran and 25% soybean powder) may promote feed utilization efficiency, whereas high relative abundance of group T microbiota (larvae fed with 75% wheat bran and 25% soybean powder supplemented with 1% tetracycline) may play an important role in black soldier fly larvae survival. Conclusion: The gut bacteria in black soldier fly larvae were involved in polysaccharide biosynthesis and metabolism, translation, membrane transport, energy metabolism, cytoskeleton, extracellular structures, inorganic ion transport and metabolism, nucleotide metabolism, and coenzyme transport physiological processes. The 35 significant differential microbes in group W may have a positive impact on feed utilization and physiological process. Keywords: Hermetia illucens, Intestinal bacteria, Utilization efficiency, Metagenomics Background researches consider diverse protocols to improve its waste Black soldier fly Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) utilization efficiency. Intestinal microorganisms are in- larvae are commonly used to recycle organic waste (van volved in several insect functions, including nutritional Huis 2013). They feed on organic waste including live- coordination (Douglas 1998), defense against plant toxins stock manure (Rehman et al. 2017;Beskinet al. 2018), (Hammer and Bowers 2015), physiological response food waste (Nguyen et al. 2015), and organic waste (Li (Bassetetal. 2000;Lietal. 2016), life span increase et al. 2011). The black soldier fly is currently used as a tool (Hoytetal. 1971), influence on the development and for waste transformation and utilization, but few reproductive potential (Gavriel et al. 2011;Prado and Almeida 2009), and detoxifying of specific foods * Correspondence: lsszhou@mail.sysu.edu.cn (Hehemann et al. 2010), among others. Collectively, The School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, insect intestinal microorganisms play a crucial role in China the growth and development of insects. Other studies Full list of author information is available at the end of the article © The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 2 of 9 have shown that bacteria in insects’ gut play an important Results role in promoting food utilization. In this regard, gut bac- Data quality assessment teria of wood-feeding higher termite promote cellulose Raw reads obtained from contig sequencing were assem- and xylan hydrolysis (Warnecke et al. 2007), whereas bled with the software MEGAHIT (Gurevich et al. 2013) Odontotaenius disjunctus intestinal microbiota contributes in default parameter. Contig sequences shorter than 300 to lignocellulose decomposition (Ceja-Navarro et al. bp were discarded, and the assembly results were evalu- 2019). Studies of black soldier fly larvae gut microbes in- ated by QUAST (Zhu et al. 2010) with the default par- clude antibacterial peptide active substances extraction ameter. The results demonstrated that the number of (Park et al. 2015), intestinal specific microbiota (Xie 2010), contig in different experimental groups was about 600, conserved microbiota analysis (Shelomi et al. 2020), and 000 and greatly varied in length. The N50 length was active enzymes analysis and identification (Kim et al. about 1000–1200 bp with the alignment rate exceeding 2011; Lee et al. 2014, 2016). A recent review evaluated 95% (Table 1). black soldier fly larva microbial community and pros- MetaGeneMark (Fu et al. 2012) was used to identify pected its feasibility to utilization improvement (De Smet coding regions in the genome with default parameters. et al. 2018). Furthermore, a relevant research finished an Gene prediction was conducted according to the assem- in-depth study to classify the positive influence of the gut bled contigs. The number of genes in different samples microbiota of black soldier fly larvae (Bruno et al. 2019). was about 500,000. The average gene length measured However, there is scarce research focused on biological in each sample was in the range of 260 to 340 bp. The function analysis of black soldier fly larvae’s gut micro- Cd-hit software (version 4.6.6) was used to remove the biota. In addition, no research has been performed to redundancy with default parameters; the similarity search for microbiota that enhance feed utilization effi- threshold was set at 95% and the coverage threshold at ciency. It then becomes necessary to develop research to 90% (Fu et al. 2012). It was concluded that there were 2, better understand the black soldier fly larvae’s microbiota 168,041 non-redundant genes obtained in this sequence characteristics and functions. process, with an average length of 280 bp (Table 2). Metagenomics research is a useful tool in gut microbe research, whose information is based on sequencing Species information statistics data (Furrie 2006). Based on the development of this The species composition and relative abundance of the technology, many unculturable microbes have been samples were obtained by comparing the above non- studied and analyzed (Handelsman 2004). In this con- redundant genes with the species information of the se- cern, metagenomics research has expanded the min- quence in the Nr database (Ashburner et al. 2000). The ing of microbial community structure and function in intestinal microbial species of the black soldier fly larvae the environment. To evaluate the black soldier fly lar- in different groups were counted in taxa of the kingdom, vae’s intestinal bacteria biological function and screen phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. The gut the potential microbial strain that may be exploited larvae microbiota was abundant, reaching more than to improve feed utilization efficiency in factory farm- 2300 genera and 11,000 species. The number of micro- ing, such bacteria were systematically analyzed bial species on different taxa in different groups was through metagenomics. relatively similar, but a significant difference was Table 1 Assembled data assessment Sample Total length (bp) Contig number Largest length (bp) GC (%) N50 (bp) Mapped (%) F1 713,374,913 679,554 332,933 41.78 1115 97.07 F2 601,410,151 594,324 264,723 41.58 1061 95.68 F3 621,800,601 613,040 315,309 41.63 1065 95.84 T1 573,217,820 519,415 184,590 41.85 1194 96.05 T2 716,521,041 613,618 721,453 41.86 1290 97.17 T3 649,395,570 557,814 186,681 42.01 1287 96.87 W1 604,749,023 581,793 363,719 42.28 1072 95.93 W2 712,670,354 668,870 399,518 42.11 1116 96.38 W3 680,722,887 639,170 744,843 42.37 1108 96.35 Sample is the sample number; total length is the sum of the base numbers of all contigs; contig numbers are the numbers of contigs after assembly; largest length is the number of bases in the longest contig; N50 are contigs that were sorted from long to short, and the cumulative length was counted. When a contig was added and the cumulative length was equal to half of the sum of the lengths of all contigs, the length of the contig was N50; Mapped is the alignment rate between sequencing reads and assembled contigs Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 3 of 9 Table 2 Predicted genes overview Sample ID Gene number Total length (bp) Average (bp) Max length (bp) Min length (bp) F1 550,158 152,574,384 277 7536 102 F2 464,889 125,423,319 269 9972 102 F3 485,384 132,226,104 272 7536 102 T1 426,498 117,609,837 275 8286 102 T2 531,807 152,545,194 286 8175 102 T3 472,169 132,783,018 281 8904 102 W1 506,309 164,800,824 325 12,033 102 W2 579,598 184,957,656 319 10,866 102 W3 576,423 195,543,927 339 11,607 102 Gene set 2,168,041 608,038,053 280 12,033 102 Samples is the sample number; gene numbers is the number of predicted genes; total length is the base sum of predicted genes; average length is the average bases of predicted genes observed in genus between groups W and T. In general, composition of the samples between the same treatment the intestinal microbe species of group W were higher, groups were comparable (Fig. 2a, c). but not in a significant level than those of groups F and Principal component analysis (PCA) decomposes the T (Table 3). differences of multiple sets of data on the two- dimensional coordinate chart through processing complex Analysis of high-abundant bacteria in the intestinal tract data into two eigenvalues. Composition analysis of differ- of black soldier fly larvae ent samples (97% similarity) reflects differences and dis- The resulting top 15 high abundance bacteria were se- tances between samples. The composition of the species lected for comparison. The results showed that the rela- in the two samples is similar, when they come closer on a tively high abundance of bacteria at the level of phylum PCA diagram. The results showed that the same sample and genus was highly comparable (Fig. 1). The highest in the same group was closer to each other, which demon- relative abundance of bacteria belonged to Proteobac- strated that the microbial composition and functional teria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria gene composition were comparable. The sum of the first phyla. The highest abundance of bacteria at the species dimension (98.4%) and the second dimension (1.13%) level were Enterococcus, Acinetobacter, Providencia, En- reached 99.53%, which explains the difference between terobacter, and Myroides. the different groups to a great extent (Fig. 2b, d). Similarity analysis of microbial and functional genes Analysis of differential microbes between groups About 100 species were selected (p < 0.05) to draw differen- The microbiota and functional gene composition of the tial heatmaps. According to the heatmap, there exists 35 samples were hierarchically clustered through R and the high relative abundance species in group W (Faecalicatena unweighted paired average method (UPGMA). Based on contorta, Stenotrophomonas acidaminiphila, Sphingobacter- this, the similarity of species composition and functional ium cellulitidis, Salana multivorans, Enterococcus sp. gene composition of each sample was determined. The Gos25−1, Lachnospiraceae bacterium OF09-33XD, Pusilli- sample distance in the sample hierarchy clustering indi- monas caeni, Hungatella hathewayi, Sphingobacterium sp. cates the similarity of the species composition of the two 30C10-4-7, Stenotrophomonas sp. Leaf70, Pusillimonas sp. samples. The results showed that samples in the same T7-7, uncultured Stenotrophomonas sp., Frischella perrara, groups are closer and the branches are shorter; there- Myroides sp. N17-2, Microbacterium sp. CH12i, Ochrobac- fore, the microbial species structure and functional gene trum sp. A44, Microbacterium ginsengiterrae, Kluyvera Table 3 Microbial species statistics Group Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species F 6 115.33 ± 1.15 124.67 ± 1.15 269.67 ± 1.53 623.33 ± 0.58 2309.67 ± 9.61 ab 11,510.33 ± 25.50 T 6 115.33 ± 1.53 125.33 ± 0.58 269.33 ± 2.08 619 ± 5.20 2283 ± 7.81 a 11,432.33 ± 68.72 W 6 111.67 ± 1.15 125.33 ± 1.15 269.67 ± 0.58 622 ± 3.46 2321.67 ± 10.11 b 11,880 ± 17.09 Data are indicated ad means ± standard error. Non-parametric ANOVA was used to analyze the data in the same column. Different letters in the same column indicate a significant difference(p < 0.05) between the groups Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 4 of 9 Fig. 1 Relative abundance microbiota analysis in the phylum and genus. a Relative abundance microbiota analysis in the phylum. b Relative abundance microbiota analysis in the genus. F1, F2, and F3 are replicates of group F; T1, T2, and T3 are replicates of group T; W1, W2, and W3 are replicates of group W georgiana, Sphingobacterium gobiense, Myroides odoratus, grimontii, Bacteroides caccae, Variovorax sp. EL159, Soli- Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterococcus pallens, Sphingobac- bacillus isronensis, Proteus mirabilis, Actinomyces sp., terium lactis, Candidatus Schmidhempelia bombi, Aequori- Staphylococcus lentus, Rozella allomycis, Ignatzschineria vita soesokkakensis, Vitellibacter aquimaris, Enterococcus sp. F8392, Leucobacter triazinivorans, Campylobacter con- sp. 9D6 DIV0238, Providencia stuartii, Miniimonas sp. cisus, Bacteroides sp. 1 1 14, Azospira oryzae). The rela- PCH200, Gilliamella apicola, Orbus hercynius, Sphingobac- tively high abundance species of the different groups terium mizutaii, Sphingobacterium sp. 1.A.4, Microbacter- concentrate on different species without obvious overlap ium profundi, Thermus filiformis), 34 in group T in the heatmap. Although the relatively high abundance (Dysgonomonas capnocytophagoides, Allomyces macrogy- species of the differential species in group F was the low- nus, Enterococcus sp. 9E7 DIV0242, Candidatus Erwinia est, the relatively low abundance species were also less dacicola, Enterococcus sp. 4G2 DIV0659, Propionibacteria- than the other two groups (Fig. 3). ceae bacterium 16Sb5-5, Desulfovibrio sp. DS-1, Marinifi- lum breve, Tatumella sp. UCD-D suzukii, Bacillus Analysis of differential functional gene velezensis, Staphylococcus gallinarum, Staphylococcus sciuri, The heatmap of different functional genes was obtained Dysgonomonas sp. Marseille-P4361, Klebsiella aerogenes, through a parametric test. The heatmap of the Kegg Providencia rettgeri, Mycolicibacterium mucogenicum, (Kanehisa et al. 2004) metabolic pathways in differential Corynebacterium nuruki, Ruaniaceae bacterium KH17, abundance gene shows that groups possess differences Corynebacterium stationis, Enterococcus sp. 6C8 in polysaccharide biosynthesis and metabolism, transla- DIV0013, Enterococcus faecium, Providencia rustigia- tion, membrane transport, and energy metabolism. nii, Wohlfahrtiimonas populi, Weissella jogaejeotgali, Group W results showed the highest relative abundance Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, Enterococcus casseliflavus, in four biological processes, group F maintained middle- Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron CAG:40, Weissella thai- level abundance in those four-biological process, and landensis, Enterobacter hormaechei, Staphylococcus group T showed low abundance in those four biological xylosus, Enterococcus saccharolyticus, Carnobacterium processes (Fig. 4a). The EggNOG (Powell et al. 2014) maltaromaticum, Spizellomyces punctatus), and 22 in heatmap evidences the differences of the cytoskeleton, group F (Citrobacter sp. MH181794, Schaalia canis, extracellular structures, inorganic ion transport and me- Metarhizium majus, Candida maltose, Nosocomiicoccus tabolism, nucleotide transport and metabolism, and co- massiliensis, Lactobacillus sp. 54-5, Dysgonomonas gadei, enzyme transport and metabolism in different groups. Dorea longicatena, Prevotella sp. 10(H), Leminorella Group W showed a high abundance in extracellular Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 5 of 9 Fig. 2 Analysis of the similarity of microbial and functional gene composition. a UPGMA (unweighted pin-group method with arithmetic mean) cluster analysis of microorganisms among samples. b Principal component analysis of microbial composition between samples. c UPGMA analysis of functional gene composition among samples. d Principal component analysis of microbe composition between samples structure, inorganic ion transport and metabolism, nu- bacteria in the black soldier fly larvae gut, indicating the cleotide metabolism and transport, and coenzyme trans- presence of highly abundant microbes in the gut. It is port and metabolism, whereas the related functional genes relatively similar among different groups in each taxo- of the cytoskeleton in group T showed relatively high nomic order, indicating that different feeds had a limited abundance. The extracellular structures of group F were influence on the overall microbial community. The top comparable to those of group W, whereas the other cat- 15 high abundance microbes in the class and genus ana- egories were less than those of group W (Fig. 4b). lysis results demonstrated that there was no apparent difference between the groups. The results indicate that Discussion feed played a slight role in the core gut microbiota of The N50 length of assembly sequence was about 1100 black soldier fly larvae, which was consistent with pub- bp, with an alignment rate exceeding 95%, whereas the lished research (Klammsteiner et al. 2020). The highest contig number of a single sample reached 600,000, relative abundance bacteria belonged to the Proteobac- which means that this data assembly quality meets the teria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria requirement of research and analysis. Gene number of a phyla. It showed some differences with Jeon et al.’s single sample up to 550,000 suggests that the sequencing (2011) results, which included Bacteroidetes, Proteobac- depth is enough for subsequent microbial biological ana- teria, Firmicutes, Fusobacteria, and Actinobacteria. lysis. Moreover, the results of intestinal microbial statis- Among those bacteria, Proteobacteria was observed as a tics showed that there were over 11,000 intestinal potential microbial signature of disease, Firmicutes was Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 6 of 9 Fig. 3 The heatmap of differential microbe in species. The x-axis represents the different treatment replicates; the y-axis represents the differential microbe in different replicates considered to play an important role in the digestion of The intergroup similarity analysis of microbial species animal manure, and Bacteroidetes were shown to de- and functional genes demonstrates that both feeds and grade high-molecular weight organic matter (Zhan et al. tetracycline had an impact on the intestinal microbial 2020). Taken together, the larvae gut core microbiota fa- community structure of the black soldier fly larvae. The cilitated degradation of animal manure and organic mat- intestinal microbial community structure of larvae fed ter, which may provide microbial evidence for Kim under a similar environment was comparable, which et al.’s(2011) research. However, we should be more agrees with other studies (Jiang 2018; Tanaka et al. 2006; cautious to adopt black soldier larvae protein as edible Liang et al. 2014; Bruno et al. 2019). Furthermore, our for Proteobacteria in its gut (Wang and Shelomi 2017). results agreed with (Engel et al. 2013) in that the diet Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 7 of 9 Fig. 4 Analysis of difference groups between functional genes. a Heatmap of differentially functional gene abundance in the Kegg metabolic pathway. b Heatmap of differentially functional genes in the eggNOG metabolic pathway. Genes shown have p values < 0.05, after metagenome sequencing analysis shapes the composition and activity of the gut micro- involved in the development and feeding (Cai et al. biota. Heatmap analysis results demonstrated that differ- 2018; Cifuentes et al. 2020), showing a great difference ent treatments influence some microbes in the black with mycotoxins and pesticides (Purschke et al. 2017). soldier fly larvae. A similar trend shown in function However, naval approaches are necessary to investigate genes indicates a relation between differential microbes this issue. The functional gene in group W displayed a and function genes. We can then infer that those mi- high level in cell structure, inorganic ion transport and crobes play a crucial role in black soldier fly larvae metabolism, nucleotide metabolic process, and coen- growth and development, which agrees with De Smet zyme transport and metabolism, which indicate that the et al.’s(2018) conclusion. From these results, we may relatively high abundance of differential microbiota in conclude the relatively high abundance microbiota in group W is essential in these biological processes. Based group W (35) and group F (22) play an important role in on the aforementioned result, we conclude that the 35 growth and development, whereas the relatively high differential microbes in group W were mainly associated abundance microbiota in group T (34) are relevant for with energy metabolism which influences growth a lot, black soldier fly larvae to survive in harsh conditions. whereas the 34 differential microbes in group T were re- However, further research is required to address such lated to survival in harsh environments. The present assumptions. Combining heatmap of Kegg and eggNOG study provided a better understanding of the intestinal analysis in differential function genes showed that rela- microbiota of black soldier fly larvae; however, it did not tive function gene abundance of groups W, F, and T fully address the relation between microbes and func- gradually reduces polysaccharide biosynthesis and me- tion. We have research underway to elucidate such a tabolism, translation, and membrane transport and en- relationship. ergy metabolism which associate with feeding. Hereby, we inferred that the 35 differential microbiota in group Conclusion W were closely related to feeding. Furthermore, we be- The present study demonstrated that gut bacteria in black lieve that the differential microbiota in different groups soldier fly larvae were involved in polysaccharide biosyn- play an important role in such biological process. Group thesis and metabolism, translation, membrane transport, T has a relatively high abundance of functional genes in energy metabolism, cytoskeleton, extracellular structures, the cytoskeleton indicating that the relatively high abun- inorganic ion transport and metabolism, nucleotide me- dance of differential microbiota in group T was related tabolism, and coenzyme transport physiological processes. to the cytoskeleton, which may be due to the inhibitory The 35 significant differential microbes in group W have a effect of tetracycline on some essential microbes positive impact on energy metabolism and physiological Zhineng et al. Annals of Microbiology (2021) 71:13 Page 8 of 9 process which could be exploited to improve transform ef- was used to evaluate assembly results, whereas Meta- ficiency. Subsequent studies will explore the function of GeneMark (Fu et al. 2012) was used to predict the en- specific differential high relative abundance microbes in coding genes and perform functional annotation on the group W and evaluate the possibility of improving farming encoding genes in general database and special database. efficiency with those microbiotas. Those bioinformatics analysis tools were kept in default parameter while analysis performing. Taxonomic ana- Methods lysis was performed based on clean reads data. Further- The research aims at exploring the relation between more, species composition, abundance information, and black soldier fly larvae and its intestinal microbiota. function genes of the samples were statistically analyzed. Fourth to 5th stage black soldier fly larvae fed with var- ied feeds were selected to study the intestinal micro- Statistical analyses biota. In order to avoid accidental outcomes, we set 3 The statistics in this research were analyzed in Prism repeats (10 individuals for 1 repeat) for every treatment. GraphPad 8; the figures were drawn through R. The metagenomic method which is a practical tool was Acknowledgements utilized to achieve our goal. We thank Beijing Biomarker Technologies for providing the data analysis services. The authors would like to express their gratitude to EditSprings (https://www.editsprings.com/) for the expert linguistic services provided. Insect sources and breeding Black soldier fly eggs and larvae were partly acquired Authors’ contributions from Guangzhou Anruijie Environmental Protection All authors contributed to the study conception and design. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Yuan Zhineng, and all authors commented Technology Limited company, all of them were trapped on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the in a field and reared in 25 °C, 16 h photoperiod, 60–70% final manuscript. relative humidity feed for 30 generations. After hatching from eggs, black soldier fly larvae were Funding The National Key R&D Program of China (grant number 2017YFF0210204) incubating with 75% wheat bran, 25% soybean powder supported this research but was not involve in the design of the study; (group W), food waste (group F), or 75% wheat bran and collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and writing of the 25% soybean powder supplemented with 1% tetracycline manuscript. (group T) for 10 days. Then, 10 4–5th stage larvae were Declarations selected in each group for intestinal anatomy, perform- ing triplicate determinations. Ethics approval and consent to participate No approval of research ethics committees was required to accomplish the goals of this study because experimental work was conducted with an Intestinal dissection of black soldier fly larvae unregulated invertebrate species. The larvae were utilized to experiment Black soldier fly larvae were starved for 24 h, after which without abuse or maltreatment. All authors understand that my participation is voluntary and agree to participate in the above research. they were washed with sterile water and inactivated for 10 min at − 20 °C. Next, they were surface sterilized with Consent for publication 75% alcohol and washed with sterile water. Larva intes- Written informed consent for publication was obtained from all participants. tines were dissected out with sterile scissors and twee- Competing interests zers on a sterile operating table, eliminating intestinal The authors declare that they have no competing interests. adhesions. The obtained larvae intestines were preserved Author details at − 80 °C for subsequent sequencing at Beijing Bio- The School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, marker Technologies. China. Guangdong Agribusiness Tropical Agriculture Institute, Guangzhou 510000, China. The School of Agriculture, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China. Metagenomic sequencing and bioinformatics analysis DNA isolation, sequencing, and bioinformatics analysis Received: 27 November 2020 Accepted: 22 February 2021 were performed by Beijing Biomarker Technologies, ac- quiring 10 G of sequencing data for every replicate References (three replicate determinations were achieved). Filtering Ashburner M, Ball CA, Blake JA et al (2000) Gene ontology: tool for the and quality controlling were processed to get original unification of biology. Nat Genet 25(1):25–29 clean reads for subsequent analysis. 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Published: Mar 12, 2021

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