Ynsect to build world’s largest insect unit

19-12-2016 | |
Ynsect to build world s largest insect unit. Photo: Ynsect
Ynsect to build world s largest insect unit. Photo: Ynsect

Ynsect, mass-scale breeder of insects for the animal feed markets raised US$15.2 million to further invest in their technologies to breed insects for feed applications.

This brings the total funds from private and public sources to $37 million over the last 3 years. Ynsect will use the recent investments to increase capacity at Ynsite, the company’s pilot centre in Jura, France, and to begin preparatory engineering work on the world’s largest insect unit that will have the capacity to produce at least 20,000 metric tons of insect protein a year.

Aquafeed approval 2017

The announcement of the funding comes as EU member states this week endorsed a European Commission proposal to allow the wider use of insect proteins in animal feed. A vote taken on Tuesday (13th December 2016), during a session of the EU Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF), clears the way for insect proteins to be used in fish feed in Europe from July 2017. An industry game-changer, the decision was brought about in large part thanks to the advocacy work of the International Platform for Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), of which Ynsect’s CEO Antoine Hubert.

Automation and sensors at the farms

Ynsect’s main product today is known as ‘TMP’ – Tenebrio molitor protein – a de-fatted protein meal made of farmed mealworm larvae. To date, TMP is the only insect protein that shows considerable benefits to animal growth and health, when fish meal is substituted with TMP in their diets. The company has designed proprietary technology to farm mealworm larvae, as well as other insects. Automation and machine-learning software are connected to sensors embedded in the farm, to ensure the highest-possible welfare standards for the insects, while promoting animal growth and safeguarding operators’ health.

The 15.2 million dollars were supplied by Future Positive Capital, Quadia SA and Bpifrance Ecotechnologies, with participation from existing investors Emertec, Demeter, Vis Vires New Protein Capital and Business Angels.

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Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor