A new joint venture may give the production of insect protein on a commercial scale the boost it needs.
Intrexon Corporation has agreed to acquire the business of EnviroFlight LLC and form a joint venture with Darling Ingredients. The joint venture intends to begin construction of a commercial plant in 2016.
EnviroFlight is a US company, which developed proprietary technologies to rear non-pathogenic black soldier fly (BSF) larvae in an industrially scalable manner. This innovative and responsible approach has considerable potential within the US$60 billion global animal feed industry, as it will provide an environmentally-friendly, toxin-free, sustainable source of high-value nutrients. Darling Ingredients (with headquarters in Texas) is known as a producer of specialty ingredients for feed from bio-nutrients.
Feed with low environmental impact
"Current trends in human population growth drive increased demand for protein supply in food production, and we believe that BSF larvae provide the potential to revolutionise the animal feed industries," commented Corey Huck, senior vice president and head of Intrexon's Food Sector. "Through our partnership with Darling, the world's largest producer of sustainable natural ingredients, we look forward to employing EnviroFlight's platform to create high-nutrition, low environmental impact animal and fish feed as well as fertiliser products."
Ideal for fish feed
EnviroFlight's scalable approach utilising BSF larvae opens the door to a plentiful source of high quality nutrients for the aquaculture and livestock industries. "Black Soldier Fly larvae meal may represent a very useful ingredient in aquaculture and importantly it has no impact on the marine ecosystem," stated Rick Barrows, Ph.D., research physiologist for Agricultural Research Service in the United States Department of Agriculture. Dr Barrows added, "Starter diets for rainbow trout incorporating BSF larvae meal resulted in an increase in feed consumption and growth, showing high palatability suggesting it could be useful with some of the more finicky species such as salmon and yellowtail. Furthermore, we have also found the essential nutrients in BSF larvae meal to have high digestibility."
Solution for food waste
In addition to reducing the depletion of marine ecosystems and decreasing dependence on non-sustainable protein sources, EnviroFlight's insect-based approach offers significant potential to recover the abundant food surpluses given its proficiency converting organic materials into valuable proteins and oils. While working with regulatory agencies to gain approvals for the use of BSF larvae for food animals, EnviroFlight will continue to supply select markets with high quality animal feed and all-natural fertilisers.
Commercial plant this year, BSF-based feed
Since late 2014, EnviroFlight has collaborated with Darling Ingredients to refine its scalable production processes for BSF larvae and upgrade its pilot facility. With over 130 years of experience, Darling is the foremost reclaimer and processor of inexpensive bio-sustainable feedstocks, repurposing typically inedible ingredients into usable specialty feed and food solutions. Darling's operational expertise in this area combined with EnviroFlight's innovative approach employing BSF larvae will be leveraged to standardise processes for creating and optimising BSF-based feed. The joint venture intends to begin construction of a commercial plant this year, setting the foundation for future global expansion. "EnviroFlight has focused on driving necessary change in the global food supply chain, and we look forward to working with Intrexon and Darling Ingredients to realise the considerable promise of insect bioconversion to offer solutions that meet this goal," said Glen Courtright, president of EnviroFlight