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Insects: sustainable new green raw materials?

LARGE-SCALE, ECONOMICALLY FEASIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE CONVERSION OF PIG MANURE INTO PROTEIN- AND FAT-RICH LARVAE ON THE FARM: A DREAM?

The black soldier fly has already earned its stripes as a waste processor. Both vegetable and animal residual flows, including manure, are converted into larval biomass. But can this exotic species also make it happen in our climate, on the farm, and with sufficiently marketable results to be economically profitable for the farmer? And is it actually sustainable?

FROM LAB TEST TO PILOT ON THE FARM

In the MIP project M2LARV, we first investigated the optimal growing conditions for controlled growth in climate-controlled chambers. We then scaled up to larger cultivation tanks on the farm. These trays can be integrated into an automated production process.

CURRENT SCALING UP NOT YET ECONOMICALLY FEASIBLE; SUSTAINABILITY IS BEING INVESTIGATED

It is feasible to grow larvae on pig manure on the farm. The room temperature for fattening pigs is sufficient. Proper aeration is crucial to enable automatic harvesting. The economic feasibility strongly depends on the value of both the larvae and the residual substrate and is still uncertain. The sustainability of the production process is being further investigated.

  • Mature larvae* contain ±45-50% protein and ±20% fat.
  • Bioconversions* on manure are low: 11% (pilot) - 15% (lab)
  • ± 30% of the nitrogen is lost as ammonia

More information: veerle.vanlinden@ilvo.vlaanderen.be

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