Bühler, NRGene collaborate to increase competitiveness of black soldier fly industry

There's growing demand for insects as feed for livestock
calendar icon 7 September 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Bühler, a Swiss technology group, and NRGene Technologies Ltd, an Israeli genomics company, announced yesterday a strategic collaboration in the field of black soldier fly (BSF) genetics and processing. The two companies are combining their expertise to provide solutions and services to this rapidly evolving industry.

The partnership between Bühler and NRGene offers BSF producers a comprehensive solution that incorporates Bühler's high-end equipment and engineering capabilities and NRGene's novel genetics and AI-based genomics tools. Production equipment and tailor made high-performance BSF strains are integrated into a customized solution that ensures cost-effective industrial scale production from the start.

"The insect industry is still optimising its production costs," said Andreas Baumann, head of market segment insect technology at Bühler. "Advances in insect genetics are key for achieving this."

"The benefit of genetics is already demonstrated in traditional agriculture," he added. "Combining the tailored insect strains with our advanced industrial technology will bring a step change in the production of insects. The overall solution will result in a high yield of superior products while ensuring an efficient use of raw materials, land, water, and energy. This makes the investment in insect production more attractive as it gives owners a crucial competitive advantage in the marketplace."

"There is a growing demand for meat to feed carnivorous pets and farm animals," added Gil Ronen, NRGene's CEO and founder. "It is our belief that to realise BSF's huge potential as an alternative sustainable protein source used for feed, it is essential to integrate the expertise of various disciplines into this new industry, from genetics to engineering. We are excited to partner with Bühler as we move towards a cost-efficient industry scaleup."

Insects are a healthy and sustainable source of protein for animal feed. They can contribute to a circular economy model as insects can be fed on organic waste, such as food leftovers and waste from agriculture, to produce feed for pets, fish, and livestock. The residues from insect farming, or frass, can in turn be used as a fertilizer, contributing to the zero-waste approach.

Black soldier fly is considered one of the most sustainable meat alternatives for carnivorous pets and farm animals. Its protein and fat provide animals with a higher level of nutrition and health than other protein sources. The industrial use of BSF is rapidly gaining traction among businesses seeking alternative protein feed sources and more sustainable practices. The main challenge this industry faces right now is reducing production costs in order to make BSF meals more commercially viable for various applications.

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