Australian scientists have successfully bred fly larvae that can turn waste into animal feed, it was revealed on Monday.
The team from Melbourne biotech company Karma3 used software development skills to breed the black soldier flies whose larvae turn food scraps into a protein source.
The flies have a lifespan of only seven days but during that time they lay between 100 and 500 eggs.
As soon as they hatch, the larvae get to work breaking down the organic matter, producing a substance that is 60 to 65 percent protein with the rest being fat and carbohydrate.
Martin Pike, chief scientific officer at Karma3, said that the make-up of the new substance made it an ideal replacement for the soybean meal currently used to feed animals worldwide.
“What we’re trying to do here is really harness natural processes, turn them into something that’s more efficient than nature, and do something really good for society and for agricultural industries,” Pike told Australian media on Monday.
“It’s quite easy to achieve the protein and fat content that we want from the larvae with just a regular sort of food waste.”
He said he believes that the product can be used as a cheap sustainable source of food for animals for the long-term future.
So far the product has been used primarily as feed for fish, but the company is investigating using it in the poultry and swine industry.
Pike said the largely disease-free soldier fly provided an added advantage of producing product that can reduce the level of contamination present in feed currently used.
“They don’t use food at all so they’re not a vector for disease,” he said.
“It can chew through almost any sort of toxic bacteria, things that are commonly a problem like salmonella or E.coli.” (Xinhua)