EntoTest: Entoprot’s Feed Testing Service
The insect bioreactor technology enables both monitoring and control of the bioprocess precisely in real time at an affordable price. Due to the mixing, the conditions inside the bioreactor are homogeneous. Therefore, measurements of temperature, humidity, pH or the concentration of gases can be performed with a small number of sensors. Online data and possibilities for controlling feeding, temperature and ventilation make it possible to direct the bioprocess to the right path if disturbances are detected. In contrast, vertical farming (rearing larvae in boxes or crates) requires a large number of sensors and expensive automation to optimize the conditions of each rearing vessel. In an automatic bioreactor, the timing of feeding, the amount of feed in feeding pulses and the quality of feed can be optimized. This enables more effective use of feed components and provides a faster growth of black soldier fly larvae. The figure below illustrates the differences in feeding between boxes/crates and on-demand feeding applied a the insect bioreactor.
Variable feed materials: opportunity and challenge
Bioreactor accepts all kind of feed material, as long it can homogenized to a slurry with particle size < 3 mm. In comparison to vertical farming, feeding in bioreactor is very flexible. Feeding is performed on-demand basis (also known as fed-batch). New feed is fed after the previous feed is consumed. This not only minimizes the harmful effects of over-feeding (impaired oxygen availability), but also directs the use of feed resources more efficiently to the growth of larvae. Additionally the accumulation of poorly digested feed as a dead weight can be minimized. For these reasons, the feed conversion ratio can be significantly better in bioreactor conditions. We have estimated that the FCR (feed conversion rate, calculated as weight of fresh larvae divided by the dry weight of feed) is 5 – 15 % better in bioreactor than in conventional box cultivation. Flexible feeding also makes possible to vary the feed composition during the cultivation process so that larvae of different age can get the nutrients that they specifically need.
Feed testing service
Entoprot Ltd is launching the feed testing service for companies that want to check the value of their feed or feed components in rearing BSF larvae. The feeding tests are conducted in the specific aerobic conditions provided by our bioreactor technology. Also comparison against vertical farming system, or testing against clients own rearing technology can be performed.
Optimization of the feed for different growth states
The next step, testing with EntoReactor, provides data that can be used to calculate the production capacity of a factory setting. In addition to the basic data (growth rate, FCR, the amount of frass) also other economically important variables are determined. These include factors such as amount of water and electricity used, working hours, space requirement and the tonnage of the vessels needed for the feed material.
More information is provided by the Head of Reseach and Development, Dr. Ari Riihimaa (email@example.com).