(click the name for details)
|Dr. Ari Riihimaa
|Dr. Antti Vasala
Business Development, PR
|Dr. Päivi Forsman
ICT, Automation, Process Control, Robotics
Chief Technical Advisor
Financing, Business Strategies
|Pekka Lankinen, PhD, Docent
Scientific Advisor, Insect Physiology
Dr. Ari Riihimaa
Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Tel. +358-41 5027317
The company founder, Dr. Ari Riihimaa, is an acknowledged expert on genetics, development and adaptation of Drosophila flies. He performed studies at Hokkaido University in 1984-1986 with Mombusho-grant granted by the Japanese government and worked as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Oulu from 1981 to 1999. His doctoral thesis addressed the physiological and genetic adaptation of Chymomyza costata (Diptera; Drosophilidae) to Northern conditions. Dr. Riihimaa has worked at Århus University in Denmark and at the National Public Health Institution of Finland, and obtained pedagogical certificate from Oulu University of Applied Sciences in 2006. Additionally, he has work experience as a designer and software developer. From 2004 to 2013 Dr. Riihimaa served as a Board Member and Chairman of the Board of Oulun Tietotaito (COOP Enterprise).
In 2017, Dr. Riihimaa founded Entoprot Oy. He describes his path to the setup his company in the following:
“At the Department of Genetics, University of Oulu, we had to produce millions of Drosophila flies for research purposes. Gradually I learned how to feed them, how to make them copulate and hatch, and how to rear larvae. The Drosophila society at our department was very competent. We had researchers working with speciation (study on isolation mechanisms and formation of new species) and genetics of the circadian rhythm (development affected by the light cycle). Our technicians were very skillful and innovative. They were capable of building and running nearly any possible research instrument. Ever since I have been in close touch with these former colleagues of mine. Flies required almost daily care, and everyone had take responsibility in their nurturing. This gave me a thorough hands-on know-how on fly rearing, physiology and development.”
“I got impressed by the fast development cycle of flies. The first idea of building an insect bioreactor came already 30 years ago – my intention then was to rear Drosophila larvae. By then it was not possible to get financing for patenting and bioreactor development. During the last decade, however, the interest to insect protein production has increased. I have followed this topics actively, and after learning more about the black soldier fly (BSF), I decided to transform my ideas into reality. It turned out that my experience with flies and my ideas about the insect bioreactor worked well with BSF larvae production.”
Dr. Antti Vasala
Business Development, Public Relations, Scientific Consultation
Tel. +358-44 5571861
Dr. Antti Vasala has >35 yrs experience in microbiology, bioprocess engineering and biotechnology development in academy and in start-up companies. He has hold CEO and R&D Director positions in former BioSilta Oy. Dr. Vasala has competence in entrepreneurship, start-up company development, and social media marketing. In Entoprot Ltd he establishes connections with industrial partners and investors. He is also responsible for social media marketing and public relations. Dr. Vasala describes his enthusiasm in the following:
”I have a lot of experience in bioprocess development from my research career at the University of Oulu. Thereby the principles and terminology of bioprocess engineering were already familiar to me. I have to admit, though, that the idea of rearing insect larvae in a bioreactor had never come to my mind. When Ari told me that his design really works, I was astonished and impressed. The Entoprot system really fulfills all the basic demands of a well-working fed-batch process: efficient aeration, sufficient but not excessive nutrient feeding, process control, and above all, very high yield with a low effort.
I immediately understood the market potential of insect protein production with the Entoprot bioreactor. I had, in my earlier business career, experienced the difficulty to bring revolutionary technology to the market. New technology becomes more easily accepted if the price level is low. For the Entoprot system I see the possibilities for an efficient market penetration extremely good. I am very happy to be a part of the Entoprot success story!”
Dr. Päivi Forsman
R&D: Microbiology, Feed Development
Päivi Forsman describes her involvement in Entoprot team in the following:
“I was contacted by Ari Riihimaa, who was looking for a competent person to develop a bioprocess for insect rearing. By that time I was nearly a pure-blood rookie concerning insect rearing. I had raised Drosophila flies during my study time at the University, and I was thus aware of flies’ fast re-production cycle and their modest requirement for nutrients. After Ari’s contact I read more about the black soldier flies and got really excited. I realized that the insect rearing process with complex substrates forms really an amazing cooperative between larvae, their intestinal microbiota, digestive enzymes and the microbes coming from the feed. Ari introduced me his innovative bioreactor design, and we concluded that it is an ideal platform for an efficient aerobic bioprocess, wherein larvae could be cultivated under slow movement and efficient mixing of nutrients and air to make valuable proteins. We figured out that these conditions can also promote the growth of useful microbes which can efficiently transform the feed to components that can be easily digested by the larvae. The first experiments strengthened our opinion, and by now we have advanced quite far in the development of insect mass production as a “total bioprocess”.
Chief Technical Advisor
Matti Rauman is an experienced and distinguished technician. He has worked as a service technician in companies providing technology for hospitals and analytic laboratories. The last 27 yrs of his work career Mr. Rauman worked at the University Oulu as a research technician responsible for design, construction and maintenance of research instruments and laboratory devices.
He has been rewarded for his skills and merits. In 2010 he was honoured with The Award for A Master of Technology (Tekniikantaitajan palkinto) by The Academy of Technical Sciences (Teknillisten Tieteiden Akatemia). Same year The President of Finland granted him the First Class Medal with Gold Crosses of the Order of the White Rose of Finland (Suomen Valkoisen Ruusun Ritarikunta).Back to Homepage