Unlocking the Potential of the Black Soldier Fly: A Sustainable Protein Revolution

Unlocking the Potential of the Black Soldier Fly: A Sustainable Protein Revolution

Developing novel Black Soldier Fly varieties to generate sustainable and healthier animal protein through innovative AI-based technology.

The Hidden Heroes of History

Throughout history, insects have long been hidden heroes, quietly working in the background of human civilization. From the domestication of silkworms in ancient China to the European honeybee, these tiny animals have played crucial roles in shaping our world. Now in the 21st century, a new insect has stepped into the spotlight, poised to revolutionize the way we view waste and sustainability: the Black Soldier Fly (BSF).

In theory, BSF farming offers exactly what is needed:

  • Efficient Conversion: BSF larvae can convert food and agricultural waste into high-quality protein, oil, and fertilizer at a record speed and with minimal inputs (such as land, energy, and water) required by most other sources of protein.
  • Nutrient-Rich: BSF larvae are a rich source of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, and, in some cases such as aquaculture, they are a more natural ingredient in animal diets than vegetable counterparts.
  • Sustainable: The BSF lifecycle and bioconversion capabilities provide a leap towards sustainability, turning food and animal waste into feed and fertilizer while reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional composting methods.
  • Market Growth: The BSF market is projected to reach USD 3.96 billion by 2033, growing at a CAGR of 31% from 2024–2033. In addition, novel proteins derived from insects are gaining interest among investors and entrepreneurs for their attractive environmental and economic business models.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the potential, BSF farming faces challenges. Feed Conversion Rate (FCR) and production efficiency are among the key areas that require optimization. While most players in the industry focus on technological and mechanical advancement, history shows that genetic research in farm animals led to greatly improved breeds. For example, in the poultry sector, it led to enhanced growth rates and feed conversion efficiency.

The Power of Genetics

At NRGene, we’re leveraging our expertise in genomics to address these challenges as we believe that leveraging innovative computational genomics and genetics holds the key to addressing these challenges quickly while increasing cost efficiency and profitability.

Our subsidiary, NRGene Canada, is at the forefront of using advanced breeding technology to enhance BSF production efficiency through genomics. By addressing key challenges such as genetic stability and optimizing feed conversion rates, we’re increasing efforts through selective breeding.

We’ve built the world’s largest genomic database for BSF as well as a diverse variety collection, each with its unique characteristics. This allows us to conduct pioneering research and development to optimize BSF breeding.

Pioneering Research and Development

NRGene Canada plays a critical role in the development of elite BSF varieties, focusing on research and development to optimize BSF breeding. Phenotyping innovations from our Canadian R&D center are expected to significantly boost our breeding programs. By combining genomics with phenotypic capabilities, we create proprietary BSF varieties that enhance the productivity and sustainability of BSF farms. This approach makes BSF a more viable option for global protein production, positioning NRGene and its collaborators at the forefront of the insect protein industry.

Tailored Solutions for Maximum Efficiency

Our goal is to revolutionize the BSF protein industry by developing novel, superior varieties tailored for long-term economic efficiency in industrial-scale production. Through selective molecular breeding and our extensive genomic database, we’re adapting specific varieties to different agricultural by-products.

Paving the Way for a Sustainable Future

Our specialized larva production facility in Saskatoon will double as an R&D center, focusing on developing and breeding novel BSF varieties. By utilizing our extensive BSF genetic database and proprietary analytics, we ensure rapid and cost-effective variety development.

The BSF was never domesticated and/or optimized for modern agricultural use as was the case for other farm animals (cattle, poultry, etc.). Thus, as the BSF industry expands, understanding the complexities of BSF reproduction is crucial for sustainable and efficient production. NRGene’s proprietary technology and proven record of improving many other species’ traits has positioned us to fill this gap.

We recognize the unique opportunity to revolutionize the BSF protein industry by developing novel, superior varieties to gain long-term economic efficiency for industrial-scale BSF production.

“Through our commitment to research, development, and strategic partnerships, we’re paving the way for a sustainable and efficient future in insect protein production.” said Gil Ronen, NRGene Founder & CEO.

Follow us on this exciting journey as we unlock the potential of the Black Soldier Fly and revolutionize sustainable protein production.

Ben Gradus, Ph.D./MBA

Director of Product, BSF at NRGene. Ben has been working in the Ag/biotech computational biology industry for 13 years, 4 of them at NRGene, and has been practicing agriculture for the rest of his adult life. Throughout his professional career, Ben has led all aspects of product management, including the development of innovative computational platforms. In the past two years, Ben has focused on developing NRGene's BSF R&D program, which includes computational molecular breeding tools, innovative phenotyping, and variety development. He holds a PhD in molecular genetics from the Weizmann Institute of Science, a B.Sc. in agronomy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and an MBA from the College of Management.”

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