How can we produce enough proteins an essential source of energy in human food? The question needs to be addressed of how to feed the 9.8 billion people who will inhabit the planet in 2050, according to the UN. A challenge that today demands sustainable solutions for the production of food resources while minimising pollution and waste.
The start-up Nextalim, based in Poitiers, France, and in which SUEZ has invested,have found the beginnings of an answer.The name of the solution can be summed up in two words: Hermetica illucens, commonly the black soldier fly. The larvae of this fly produce large quantities of proteins.
The engineers behind the project are wagering on insect farming. The large-scale breeding of insects to produce new forms of food for animals demands fewer resources and could ultimately produce edible products for human beings. The black soldier fly does not incur any risks to health, grows quickly and eats almost anything. A number of steps are required to make these flies suitable for feeding livestock.
The flies are fed with biowaste of 100% plant origin, mainly made up of downgraded fruit and vegetables that are transformed into soup. When the flies digest the biowaste, it is turned into fertiliser. The fats, proteins and other derivatives from the insects are used for pet food and green chemistry. Some of the larvae are taken to produce adult flies that will, in turn, lay more eggs.
An ecological, sustainable and economically viable process. It consumes little energy and is an example of the circular economy that obeys to the principle of the French scientist Lavoisier: “Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.”
This article was published in the sixth issue of open_resource magazine: “Towards a bio-inspired future”