Wednesday, October 4, 2017

New Food for Fish Farms is Fly Larvae

AgriProtein, a South African firm that recently moved its headquarters to London, has won the BBC Food Chain Global Championship for MagMeal, a protein substitute for fishmeal used widely in aquaculture, agriculture and pet food. The product is produced from black soldier flies fed on food waste.

The award, presented in Bristol, England, was announced in late September. “Insect protein is an idea whose time has come and we are now producing it at an industrial scale,” said Jason Drew, co-founder and chief executive officer of Agri-Protein. “By using existing waste to rear fly larvae, we’re reducing the greenhouse gases and pollution caused by organic landfill,” he said.

AgriProtein has fly farm projects under way in several countries, potentially including the United States and Canada, to produce MagMeal for the $100 billion aquafeed market.

The BBC noted in one of its podcasts ( that AgriProtein’s South African farm has the capacity to farm more than nine billion black soldier flies. The maggot offspring of billions of these protein rich flies are churned into sustainable animal feed.

At present, about 10 percent of global fish production goes into fishmeal, and is used mainly in aquaculture, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization notes in an online report, The high demand and consequent high prices for fishmeal, together with increasing production pressure on aquaculture, led to research into the development of insect proteins for aquaculture and livestock. Meanwhile, aquaculture is growing and fishmeal declining as a source of feed, because of decreased supplies of industrially caught fish due to tighter quotas, additional controls on unregulated fishing, and greater use of more cost-effective dietary fishmeal substitutes, the FAO report said.

The report identifies black soldier flies as the most promising species for industrial feed production, noting that they are found in abundance and naturally occur around manure piles of large poultry, pigs and cattle, and for this reason are known as latrine larvae.

“They can be used commercially to solve a number of environmental problems associated with manure and other organic waste, such as reducing manure mass, moisture content and offensive odors, while providing high value feedstuff for cattle, pigs, poultry and fish, the report said.

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