Feedstock for jam?

So last week I visited the Agriprotien site where Biocycle venture leader, Cobus Kotze is using  bioconversion to deal with waste in a rather, hmmm…. well, ingenious way.

The Biocycle team breed maggots, sorry I mean Black Soldier fly larvae, which could prove to be an extremely efficient and valuable method of dealing with food waste.

Flies are bred in these cages

Flies lay eggs in these straws

These larvae have the amazing ability to eat food waste, and they grow up to 400  times their original size within a matter of 3 weeks! Once they have finished eating and are ready to pupate, they crawl away from their food source, which for an industrial process makes it incredibly simple, as there’s no need to separate: they do all the hard work for you. I saw various prototypes for feeding trays which allow the larvae to deposit themselves neatly inside a collection bucket, while expending the least amount of energy as, when it comes to feedstock: it’s the calories that count!

Larvae are fed food waste and kept warm under lights

Once fully grown, larvae crawl out of food and drop into these buckets

The little bundles of protein sit there, fresh for the picking, and all that remains of the food is a  soil enhancing compost.  Processing the larvae involves drying and squeezing to extract oil (later used to make biodiesel),  and then grinding the remains into a coarse powder, et voila – you have protein meal! Feedstock ideally suited to chickens and fish, that can be sold at the price of fishmeal  meal,  and at a  much lower environmental cost. The financial value is comparable to that of soy protein however, according to Cobus, animal proteins are easier for animals to convert into muscle protein and issues surrounding growing soya are also avoided.

The team are also investigating the Musca Domestica (common house fly) for dealing with  abattoir waste, but that’s a story for another time…

– AM


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