Innovation That Matters

Inseco produces various products from black soldier flies | Photo source Pixabay

Insect protein for livestock does double-duty as organic waste digester

Agriculture & Energy

Before being turned into protein, live flies eat everything from coffee grounds and pet waste, to offal and rotting produce

Spotted: In a bid to transform the food chain into a carbon neutral process, South African company Inseco has developed a range of insect-based proteins. The company uses black soldier flies—both fully grown and in the egg and larval stages—for human and animal food consumption, and as a main ingredient in a range of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. The insects are also used as a sustainable palm oil replacement.

The flies divert food production waste from landfill by consuming almost any organic matter that is no longer alive. Fully grown flies are ground up to create EntoMeal, a replacement for traditional animal feed proteins for poultry, pets, livestock, and aquaculture farms. Before being turned into an insect protein, the flies’ manure, called frass, is combined with larval skins to create an organic fertiliser.

The larvae themselves are dried whole and sold as Nutrigrubs – another type of animal feed. Live fly eggs are sold as EntoEggs for both animal feed and as a means of diversifying the genetics in other fly colonies. And the EntoMeal production process also creates EntoOil and EntoChitin. The oil is a nutritious, more environmentally friendly alternative to palm, coconut, and fish oils. EntoChitin is a large sugar polymer extracted from the exoskeleton of the flies for use in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, and in agriculture as a fibre source.

Insect proteins are slowly being introduced to Western diets, with a number of farms, including Ÿnsect in France and Origen in Spain, raising mealworms, and crickets for use in baking flour, pet food and livestock supplements. More savoury uses depends on creative application by chefs and increasing the general public’s knowledge and understanding of the protein.  

Written by: Keely Khoury



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