Lift off for flies
do trials and come up with variations. And as our next plants come on line we’ll know exactly what we want to do and how we want to present that ﬁnished product.’ AgiProtein employs about 80 people in the factory in South Africa and about 20 in research and in the international development team. ‘We’re adding people in Europe and in Asia - in Hong Kong and in two key factories that are going up in Vietnam and Indonesia,’ said Jason. ‘We’re having a lovely time building a great business. Every day when I get up I see the trucks arriving and think, great, some stuﬀ not going to landﬁll. And every time I see a truck going out I think, great, there’s some alternative protein starting to happen in the food chain. It’s just exciting.’. FF
Feed - Insects.indd 35
Left: Nutritional qualities. Top: The black soldier ﬂy. Opposite: Trucks load up with MagMeal.
Maggot meal is not only rich in omega 3, it also has healing properties, said Jason Drew, who has written two books on the broader subject, The Story of the Fly and How It Could Save The World and The Protein Crunch. ‘Larvae, of course, have the world’s most up to date antibiotics. Genghis Khan knew very well he would never go into battle without ﬂies. They would lay eggs on the rotting material on the back of his wagons and he’d take the larvae, put them on to the wounds of his soldiers, and they would disinfect them and clean them up.’ Part of AgiProtein’s mission is ongoing research, with a commitment to understanding the antibiotic nature of larvae in feed. ‘If larvae are processed carefully so as not to denature the proteins that cause the antibiotic eﬀect, that’s quite interesting. We’ve noticed quite a lot less mortality in chickens fed with larvae (MagMeal) rather than ﬁshmeal.’ With research partners at Guelph University in Ontario and at Stellenbosch in South Africa, the company’s scientists are exploring the antibiotic qualities of feed and the genetics – ‘how we maintain genetic diversity without losing the traits we’ve bred for’. ‘We breed ﬂies for egg laying, size of the oﬀspring, speed of growth of the oﬀspring, all that type of thing,’ said Jason. ‘We can see a path of eight to ten years. If you look at an eﬃcient industry such as the salmon industry, their biological eﬃciency is quite high and ours is still quite low. ‘We’re making some quite interesting breakthroughs quite often, which I suppose is easy because we’re such a new industry and we have so much to learn. We don’ even know what we don’t know yet!’ To ﬁnd out more, they attract students doing their masters or PhDs by helping out with their fees. Dr Cameron Richards, AgiProtein’s head of research, currently has ten students working on various projects.
Serving Worldwide Aquaculture Since 1977