Rearing insect larvae is an easy-to-handle process with the Entoprot system. The cultivation is done in well-aerated conditions, which guarantees good growth and efficient nutrient usage by the larvae, i.e. good feed conversion rate. Such conditions minimize the growth of odor-producing spoilage bacteria. Cultivation is started with a low amount of liquid feed, which spreads evenly onto the large surface area of the internal support structures (patented) enabling efficient aeration. During the process, more liquid feed is added as the larvae grow.
As insect larvae, microbes and digestive enzymes form a self-sustaining environment, the cultivation process is very stable. Very soon the microbial population in the bioreactor becomes similar to the microbiota of the larvae digestive tract. Additionally, larvae excrete enzymes and bacteria-killing substances such as chitin and antimicrobial peptides into the feed.
To improve the digestibility of the feed and to accelerate the cultivation process, Entoprot has developed a unique pre-processing system.We provide our customers with a proprietary Entoprot Feed Booster microbial composition. The customer adds this to the feed, and after a brief fermentation the feed can be dosed into the bioreactor. New fresh feed batches should be be prepared daily to minimize the contamination risk. Our R&D unit works diligently to optimize the booster compositions for different feed compositions.
One cultivation, from inoculation to harvest, takes roughly 2 weeks. Starting a new batch is very easy as well. After the larvae have been harvested, cleaning in place can be performed by flushing water through the bioreactor. Due to the aerobic conditions and the presence of a robust microbial population (microbiota), the following cultivation cycle can be started immediately without the need for extensive sanitation.
The feed material is homogenized and suspended in water. With hard-to-digest feedstock (materials with a high content of fibers or lignin) it is advisable to perform a pre-treatment with the Entoprot Feed Booster. The feed can be dosed with an automated peristaltic pump. This provides well balanced conditions regarding moisture and nutrient content. Since the feed is dosed gradually, homeostatis (e.g. regarding pH) can be maintained. This allows the use of a relative high proportion of feed components having non-optimal pH (e.g. waste brewer yeast or silage).
Entoprot has addressed process efficiency and economy by evaluating several feed compositions. Currently we work diligently to provide our customers with suggestions for both (A) high-turnover-feeds giving maximal yield and (B) sustainable feed compositions. Please contact us to get more information about these options.