Insect bioconversion drives change in global food supply

By Anna Bolton - [email protected]

YELLOW SPRINGS — A business tucked away at MillWorks in the village of Yellow Springs is making big strides in the effort to drive change in the global food supply.

EnviroFlight, LLC, is a leader in sustainable animal and plant nutrition.

According to its website, the company, a joint venture between Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON) and Darling Ingredients Inc. (NYSE: DAR), has a mission to “develop sustainable animal and plant nutrients using regionally available, low-value materials, emphasizing: production of nutrients in a socially responsible way, eliminating toxins, hormones, and antibiotics from our food supply, and reducing the environmental and financial costs to our food supply.”

The company was recognized most recently when it received the “DSM Innovation Award.” The award honors innovation within the aquaculture industry, according to a press release.

Glen Courtright, President and Founder of Envirotech, accepted the award and prize at the AquaVision Conference in Norway.

“With over 9 billion people expected on the planet by 2050, environmentally responsible aquaculture solutions that drive improvements in the global food supply chain are necessary,” he said. “EnviroFlight technology holds significant promise to realize the substantial potential of insect bioconversion to help meet this need.”

According to EnviroFlight, the 2012 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) states that food production must increase by 60 percent in the next 40 years to meet the projected global demand.

The Yellow Springs business uses co-product from breweries, ethanol production and pre-consumer food waste as a feedstock for Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae.

“The larvae feed off and bioconvert the material. By doing so, the frass — the waste product created by insects after digesting the feedstock — becomes a high protein, low fat feedstuff for omnivorous species such as tilapia, freshwater prawns, catfish. The material is also beneficial as a protein source for poultry, swine and cattle,” the website explains.

The larvae are then cooked and converted into meal for multiple species of fish.

Utilizing BSF larvae allows food surpluses to be converted into valuable proteins and fats. In turn, this helps meet the growing demands for aquaculture feed.

“This innovative and responsible approach has considerable potential within the $60 billion global animal feed industry as it will provide an environmentally-friendly, toxin-free, sustainable source of high-value nutrients,” EnviroFlight online continued.

Equally significant, the system is designed to be located anywhere in the world, even optimized for operation in developing nations.

By Anna Bolton

[email protected]

Reach Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.

Reach Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.