Science and research company Fera Science has opened an insect lab at its Bioscience Campus (YBC) in York.
The £1million expansion involved converting a former on-site storage unit into a purpose-built insect research unit, increasing Fera’s presence at YBC by over 2,000 square feet.
This expert research and development (R&D) facility will support the rapid growth of insect bioconversion to recycle biomass residues into valued products. Fera’s R&D services will help a variety of industries assess feasibility and scale the processes by which they can best adopt the technology.
The lab, which is the first of its kind in the UK and one of the first in Europe, will enable Fera to help meet the needs of global customers across the food industry by expanding the reach and scale of its current insect services to ‘twin’ the insect bioconversion process to factory production scale.
Insect bioconversion is the process of feeding insect biomass residues to create valuable products, such as high-quality proteins and oils, packaging materials, or soil nutrients.
Dr Andrew Swift, Managing Director of Fera Science, said: “Today’s launch of our specialized insect lab is an important step in providing expert support from Fera to help the food production industry. and its stakeholders, both in the commercial and public sector, to respond to the opportunity presented by this technology.
“The increasing pressure to meet the consumption of the world’s growing population estimates that more than 250 million metric tons of additional protein will be needed per year in the coming decades. This puts immense pressure on our current sources of protein from animal feed such as soybeans and fishmeal that come from unsustainable sources.
“Insect bioconversion presents a pathway to deliver sustainably sourced protein into the food chain to help overcome this challenge. As part of a circular economy, this technology can reduce biomass waste through consumption and conversion into high-quality protein for animal feed as well as other by-products. of great value for food production”.