Singapore-based startup Insectta feeds flies up to 8 tons of food waste per month, and then makes animal feed and fertilizer from the insects.
In 2020, 6.5 million tons of food waste was generated in Singapore, of which only 19% was recycled: this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed at the state level.
Singaporean farmer Chua Kai-Ning co-founded Insectta in 2017 with Phua Jun Wei. He is fighting the food waste crisis in the country. The main ally in this is the larvae of black lion flies.
According to Chua, the idea for her startup was to ensure that nothing was wasted: food waste can be rethought as a resource, then we will open up new opportunities.
The startup is engaged in feeding fly larvae with food waste: they eat up to 8 tons per month. Their diet includes by-products from soybean and beer factories.
When the larvae turn into adults, they form a cocoon, after 10-14 days an adult fly appears from it. Insectta has developed a patented technology for extracting biomaterials from an exoskeleton. One of these biomaterials, chitosan, is a substance with antioxidant properties; it is used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. Insectta plans to produce 500 kg of chitosan per day.
The startup also dries the larvae and uses them as animal feed, and turns excrement into agricultural fertilizer. The heads of the startup hope their approach and biomaterials will revolutionize the insect-based food industry.