University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine > Insect-based biomass valorisation: using Hermetia illucens to convert waste into food & medicine

Insect-based biomass valorisation: using Hermetia illucens to convert waste into food & medicine

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Fiona Roby.

Estimates suggest up we need to increase our food production efforts by up to 100% should we wish to successfully feed our growing populations by 2050. At the same time, about a third of all food grown ends up wasted, totaling about 1.3bn tonnes globally each year. Insect-based biomass conversion refers to the incredible ability of many species to assimilate such wasted biomass into more valuable outputs at large-scale – this biotechnology gives ability to upcycle wasted nutrients into renewable inputs for our food producing industries. Hermetia illucens (Stratiomyidae, Diptera), commonly referred to as the black soldier fly (‘BSF’), represents the ‘crown jewel’ of this novel class of biological catalysts. By feeding on organic waste biomass, such as food, agricultural and manure wastes; BSF larvae are capable of converting a broad range of waste biomasses into sought-after biomass – rich in lipids and proteins, and holding the potential for synthesis of valuable biologic compounds such as antimicrobial peptides. In this talk, we’ll explore the rise of the ‘insects for food and feed’ industry, focusing on the role of insect-derived products in building a more sustainable livestock feed & food sector of the future. Emphasis will be given the Hermetia illucens, a species Entomics have worked with over the past three years. Legal, health & safety implications and outstanding popular questions will be addressed.

We will finish by addressing the opportunities for collaboration between the University and Entomics in this quickly growing sector, particularly in developing countries: https://bbsrc.ukri.org/funding/filter/industrial-biotechnology-bioenergy-in-the-developing-world/

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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