Milltrust is currently scheduling meetings with the BugEra team – Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in learning more.
By Alexander Kalis with contributions from BugEra
In July 2022, Milltrust announced its investment into BugEra – an Insect Biotechnology company harnessing the natural potential of insects for novel bio solutions and a sustainable future
BugEra develops and produces innovative strains of Black Soldier Fly (BSF) and specialises in genetic engineering for insects, enhancing the fly’s natural traits through genetic editing and modifications. This has led to the creation of the patent-pending Modified Black Soldier Fly (M-BSF) Platform. The oil derived from BSF is highly suitable for the biofuel industry, including biodiesel, renewable diesel, and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), with the demand for the latter two expected to quintuple by 2024. However, this growth is limited by the availability of biomass.
The price of soybean oil, a conventional source of biofuel, has surged from USD $660 per tonne in 2018 to over USD $1,400 per tonne in 2021. BugEra’stechnology bridges the BSF and biofuel industries, offering an alternative to crop oils and promoting organic waste recycling. The M-BSF Platform facilitates the development of sustainable and safe products and supports the expansion of the BSF industry by endorsing organic waste upcycling and circular economy principles. BugEra’s business model is noted for its sustainability and flexibility, requiring minimal infrastructure overheads. Milltrust has chosen to invest in BugEra after assessing over 60 Black Soldier Fly producers, following a previous investment by a leading US-based biofuel producer.
Insects are rising stars in the world of agriculture and food tech alike. They provide a sustainable source of protein and need minimum land and resources. Among them, the black soldier fly is gaining momentum. It is praised for its composting abilities and high-quality protein content.
What is the Black Soldier Fly used for? Alternative protein: they are a great source of animal protein for humans and animals alike. When dried, they contain up to 50% of high-quality protein. Animal feed: animals, especially chickens, love them. Black soldier fly larvae not only provide nourishment, but also a natural, stimulating pastime. After all, ranging for insects is much more fun for hens and positively impacts their welfare. Waste management and composting: they can eat almost any organic waste, making them perfect for dealing with discarded foods or agricultural wastes.
Why does this matter? The fact that adult black soldier flies would not attack crops is very important. This means that the risks associated with a BSF colony getting out of hand are very low. They will not attack crops or disrupt the local ecosystems. The fact that adult black soldier flies would not attack crops is very important. This means that the risks associated with a BSF colony getting out of hand are very low. They will not attack crops or disrupt the local ecosystems.
Is Black Soldier Fly farming sustainable? Insects need much less water, land, and energy to produce the same amount of feed as soy – a popular protein source for poultry farms nationwide. They also thrive in densely populated environments. What’s more, you can farm black soldier flies locally, close to where they are needed. Soy on the other hand usually comes from South America, including areas with high deforestation risk. It travels for thousands of miles, contributing to more carbon emissions.
How nutritious are they? The black soldier fly larvae contain up to 40% of high-quality protein, as well as necessary vitamins, fats, and amino acids. They are also rich in antimicrobial, medium-chain fatty acids which have proven gut health benefits. Their shell is made of chitin, which is a great source of fibre that further boosts gut health.