Project properties

Title Effects of mycotoxins on the house fly Musca domestica: survival, growth and metabolic conversion
Group Entomology, Laboratory of
Project type thesis
Credits 24-36
Supervisor(s) Kelly Niermans, Prof. Dr. Joop van Loon
Examiner(s) Prof. Dr. Marcel Dicke
Contact info
Begin date 2021/01/01
End date
Description The currently described project is a part of the INSECTFEED consortium which is aiming for a sustainable circular economy in which insect production is part of an integrated food production system with zero waste and preservation of natural resources. It is for this reason that the INSECTFEED consortium focuses on the assessment of the suitability of house fly larvae (Musca domestica) as feed for poultry.

In order to make insect rearing sustainable and economically interesting insects could be reared on waste streams. However, waste streams potentially contain contaminants which could accumulate in the insect body. Therefore, in order to consider house fly larvae as a feed source for livestock or as food, potential food/feed safety issues should be identified and mitigated. A class of contaminants commonly occurring in waste streams and the currently used rearing substrates are mycotoxins. Due to climate change, contamination of grains by mycotoxins has been increasing over the past years and is considered as one of the most important challenges in the food and feed industry. Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by fungi and constitute a diverse class of compounds, among which several of the most potent toxic molecules of biological origin.

This research will clarify the effect of mycotoxin exposure on survival and growth of house fly larvae and will investigate whether mycotoxin accumulation and/or metabolism occurs in house fly larvae. When mycotoxin metabolism is indeed demonstrated, in vitro studies will be performed in order to gain more insight in the enzyme systems involved in mycotoxin metabolism and will make comparison between in vitro and in vivo data possible.

Projects with later starting dates are also available.
Used skills Experimental design, in vivo (feeding studies) and in vitro (mycotoxin metabolism assay) methods, LC-MS/MS analyses, data-analysis, scientific writing
Requirements For doing a BSc-thesis at Entomology, there are no requirements for specific courses.
For doing a MSc-thesis or internship at Entomology, the following requirements apply: ENT-30806 + a second ENT-course (preferably ENT-30306 or ENT-50806 or ENT-53806). As an alternative for the second ENT-course, PHP-30806 or BHE-30306 can be selected.
Note: these requirements do not apply for MBI students; MBI students should check the requirements for doing an ENT MSc-thesis or internship in the study programme of their specialisation.

* Since this is not a general Entomology topic, please contact me to discuss whether you can participate if you do not fit the set requirements, but do have a relevant background (toxicology, food/feed safety etc.)