Intrexon Corp., a leader in synthetic biology, has agreed to acquire the business of EnviroFlight L.L.C. and form a joint venture with Darling Ingredients Inc., the world’s largest publicly traded developer and producer of sustainable natural ingredients from bio-nutrients.
EnviroFlight has developed proprietary technologies which enable the rearing of non-pathogenic black soldier fly (BSF) larvae in an industrially scalable manner. This innovative and responsible approach has considerable potential within the $60 billion global animal feed industry as it will provide an environmentally friendly, toxin-free, sustainable source of high-value nutrients.
“Current trends in human population growth drive increased demand for protein supply in food production, and we believe that BSF larvae provide the potential to revolutionize the animal feed industries,” said Corey Huck, senior vice president and head of Intrexon’s food sector. “Through our partnership with Darling, the world’s largest producer of sustainable natural ingredients, we look forward to employing EnviroFlight’s platform to create high-nutrition, low environmental impact animal and fish feed as well as fertilizer products.”
EnviroFlight’s scalable approach utilizing BSF larvae opens the door to a plentiful source of high-quality nutrients for the aquaculture and livestock industries. Notably within the fish and poultry markets, BSF larvae may be more representative of the typical diet of these natural insectivores than soymeal and other plant-based meal regimens. Additionally, fishmeal and fish oil are multi-billion-dollar products critical to aquaculture’s continued growth, yet demand is outpacing the fairly inflexible supply for these valuable feeds whose manufacture are heavily dependent on wild-caught fish.
“Black Soldier Fly larvae meal may represent a very useful ingredient in aquaculture and importantly it has no impact on the marine ecosystem,” said Rick Barrows, Ph.D., research physiologist for Agricultural Research Service in the United States Department of Agriculture. Barrows added, “Starter diets for rainbow trout incorporating BSF larvae meal resulted in an increase in feed consumption and growth, showing high palatability suggesting it could be useful with some of the more finicky species such as salmon and yellowtail. Furthermore we have also found the essential nutrients in BSF larvae meal to have high digestibility.”
In addition to reducing the depletion of marine ecosystems and decreasing dependence on non-sustainable protein sources, EnviroFlight’s insect-based approach offers significant potential to recover the abundant food surpluses given its proficiency converting organic materials into valuable proteins and oils. While working with regulatory agencies to gain approvals for the use of BSF larvae for food animals, EnviroFlight will continue to supply select markets with high-quality animal feed and all-natural fertilizers.
“We are excited to enter this new collaboration with Intrexon, a leader in bio-based solutions to global problems, and to further enhance our broad bio-nutrient product portfolio continuing our goal of providing nutritional, functional, and ecological ingredients for animals,” said Randall Stuewe, chairman and CEO of Darling Ingredients.
“EnviroFlight has focused on driving necessary change in the global food supply chain, and we look forward to working with Intrexon and Darling Ingredients to realize the considerable promise of insect bioconversion to offer solutions that meet this goal,” said Glen Courtright, president of EnviroFlight.