SWITZERLAND – Bühler, a Swiss technology group, has taken a significant step toward meeting the increasing demand for sustainable animal feed by entering a strategic partnership with Israeli genomics company NRGene Technologies.
The innovative collaboration will harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionize black soldier fly genetics and processing, with the aim of bolstering insect protein production for the animal feed industry.
Bühler will contribute its high-end equipment and engineering expertise, while NRGene Technologies will offer its cutting-edge genetics and AI-based genomics tools.
According to Andreas Baumann, head of market segment Insect Technology at Bühler, the main aim of the joint effort will be to optimize insect production costs, a pivotal factor in making insect-based animal feed a commercially viable and eco-friendly option.
“The insect industry is still optimizing its production costs. Advances in insect genetics are key to achieving this. The benefit of genetics is already demonstrated in traditional agriculture,” he said.
“Combining the tailored insect strains with our advanced industrial technology will bring a step change in the production of insects.”
The collaboration between Bühler and NRGene Technologies is expected to yield high-quality insect products while ensuring the efficient use of raw materials, land, water, and energy.
Meanwhile, Bühler has teamed up with insect technology firm Entocycle to drive the adoption of large-scale black soldier fly farms, further underlining its dedication to sustainable animal feed solutions.
Additionally, Dr. Gil Ronen, CEO and founder of NRGene Technologies, emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in unlocking the potential of black soldier flies as a sustainable protein source.
“To realize black soldier fly’s huge potential as an alternative sustainable protein source used for feed, it is essential to integrate the expertise of various disciplines into this new industry, from genetics to engineering,” he said.
As part of this partnership, NRGene Technologies will also establish a North American Insect Center in Saskatchewan, Canada, equipped with controlled insect growth chambers and advanced sensors.
The center will serve as a testing and demonstration facility for both companies’ customers, facilitating the evaluation of black soldier fly varieties, operational parameters, and practices for efficient industrial-scale insect production.
In an era marked by the growing global population and the need for sustainable solutions, Bühler and NRGene Technologies are at the forefront of leveraging AI and genetics to pave the way for a more eco-conscious future in animal feed production.
Recently, insects have emerged as a viable and sustainable source of protein for animal feed, contributing to the concept of a circular economy.
They can be raised on organic waste, including food leftovers and agricultural byproducts, to produce high-quality feed for pets, fish, and livestock.