Kibbutz Startup Turns Fly Larvae Into Protein-Rich Animal Feed
Larvae of the black soldier fly is a sustainable, accessible source of protein and fat, and producing it has a beneficial byproduct: the larvae feed on waste, turning it into compost
Agriculture company BioBee Biological Systems Ltd. is processing fly larvae into nutritious feed for farmed fish, chicken, and pets. The larvae of the black soldier fly contain high values of protein and fat, making it an ideal substitute protein source, according to Shimon Steinberg, BioBee’s head of research and development.
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The larvae are easy to cultivate—the black soldier fly female lays 600-800 eggs at a time—and production has a beneficial side effect. The larvae feed on waste, processing it into natural compost. Placing the larvae in 10 tons of food waste will produce, within a week, 2 tons of adult larvae and 3 tons of compost, said Yuval Baron, BioBee’s black soldier fly project manager, in an interview with Calcalist.
The larvae are dehydrated and processed for protein-based animal feed and fat. BioBee has recently completed successful experiment feeding the larvae-based food to farmed trout, and now are expanding the experiment to other farmed fish.
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Founded in 1984 and based in Sde Eliyahu, a kibbutz in the Jordan River Valley in the north of Israel, BioBee develops and markets farmer-friendly predatory insects and mites as an alternative to chemical pesticides, as well as providing bumblebees for natural pollination. BioBee sells its products in over 50 countries worldwide.
A third of the world’s protein-based animal feed is sourced from wild caught fish and the depletion of the world’s oceans due to overfishing is threatening this protein source, Mr. Steinberg said. Moving to insect-based protein would decrease dependency on fish, he added.