"By rearing only one species, we can get new high quality animal feed, new material for packaging, pharmaceutics, nutraceutical and valorise a large range of by-products."
Thinking about insects may make you grimace, but have you ever considered the real potential that they can offer our planet? With a global biodiversity issue, it is time for us to embrace new opportunities to fuel the future of our food chain. One company looking to change perceptions and EU law is Ynsect. They use insects to convert organic substrates and supply a sustainable nutrient resource for agro-industries and bioactive compounds for green chemistry. The most exciting insect is the conventional meal worm which has been proven to have very good reproduction and growth rates. To tell us more about this controversial yet ingenious idea is Guillaume Daoulas, the company's product manager who provides more information about how insects could be used and why it's a concept we should all start embracing to improve our future food challenges.
Emily O’Dowd (EOD): Before joining Ynsect, what was your previous background?
Guillaume Daoulas (GD): I studied engineering at UniLaSalle and AgroParisTech, Paris with a specialisation in environment and politics. In 2013, I then set up the association “Fishermen around the world” to highlight traditional fishing issues and solutions about fisheries resources, economy and culture.
After having lived among remote fishermen communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America over the course of a year, I wrote and published a book about their lives. The experience pushed me to get more involved into feed and food value chain so I decided in 2014 to deepen my studies by doing a one year specialised Masters at the SupAgro school in Montpellier. I focused on innovation and politics for sustainable food systems before joining the Ynsect ( @Ynsect ) adventure, deeply convinced that insects can provide concrete solutions for coherent feed and food, new bio-based products for green chemistry, and high quality organic fertiliser for plants.
EOD: Why do you think that the bio-based industry is a lucrative field to get involved in?
GD: We can’t ignore the fact that we have a global loss of biodiversity. The bio-based industry can be one solution to combat global environment issues but in my opinion, it’s not the only reason why it is a lucrative field to get
involved in. It’s more than just being ‘sustainable’ - based can also provide better properties than traditional materials like being more resistant, durable, safer, lighter and healthier. I believe that it will be more and more profitable when we know more about t
he industry – so far, we have only just explored a small proportion of this new world.
By rearing only one species, we can get new high quality animal feed, new material for packaging, pharmaceutics, nutraceutical and valorise a large range of by-products. It’s the same story for bacteria, fungi, wood because we have seen that they can provide new bio-based materials but there’s still have a lot to discover.
EOD: What do you enjoy most about your role?
GD: Working on a field which has never been explored before pushes me to interact with a large range of stakeholders. I teach many people about the ways to provide this new product throughout bio-based industries and this is very exciting! Everybody needs to be involved, from the R&D, to the final consumer. The aim is to take a big step forward and provide high volumes for high scale; it’s a big challenge but this is what drives me.
EOD: How can we alter consumer perceptions about using insects as feedstock?
GD: We need to be precise about what kind of consumer we are talking about. In SEA or in Mexico, there is no need to change consumer perceptions as insects are already part of their daily nutrition. Those consumers are not disgusted as some of us might be in Occident!
Then, we have to remind the consumer that insects can be natural feed for breeding fish or poultry (70% of the trout diet is insect, and chicken eat larvae). Furthermore, animal by-products are already in our daily life like collagen from fish or chicken fat used in cosmetics.
Finally, I think it is important to highlight that there no loss in insect farming as we, at Ynscet valorise all products from insects (chitosan from the cuticle, protein, oil, excreta), this breeding is in line with circular economy concepts.
EOD: What is the latest project that you have been working on within the company?
GD: With the great work of all our R&D team, we have been working during the last months on the optimisation of chitosan production from the cuticle of the insects in order to enlarge the interval of the chitosan molecular weight and being suitable for a large range of applications. The aim is to provide exactly what is needed for clients so they can launch trials and understand how our chitosan can have the right properties for their products. We also have launched several trials in different fields and showed that using insect meal (TMP) as fish feed (for rainbow trout) gives a 30 percent weight gain in comparison to fishmeal without compromising the quality of the fish fillet.
Trials are probably the best way to prove how beneficial using insect product for the bio-based industry can be.
EOD: What is the biggest challenge that you’ve faced in your role?
GD: The biggest challenge is not totally over yet and it is the same for all my collaborators at Ynsect: showing that insect farming is not just a way to offer a funny aperitif to your friends but a real new filed that can provide solutions for a wide range of industries looking for high volumes and high quality.
EOD: What single change do you think would propel the bio-based industry forward?
GD: Broadening the communication about the benefits of the bio-based industry and updating the regulation to be more coherent. It is what we do with the IPIFF (International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed) which aim to gather insect producers and act as the voice for all insect sectors in the EU. The last success in terms of communications and regulation is the recent “green light” from the EU about the authorisation of using insect meal as fish feed. This regulation will be applied the first of july, 2017.
EOD: Where would you like to see Ynsect in five years’ time?
GD: In five years, I would like to see Ynsect as a world leader in providing insect meal for animal feed, organic fertiliser from insects for plant nutrition and chitosan for green chemistry. In five years, I would like to see Ynsect well implemented in our three strategic areas which are Europe, Northern America and SEA in order to be as close as possible to our clients and the feedstock for the insects.
For more information you can access Ynsect's website here: https://www.ynsect.com/
Our last 5 minutes with... Frans Prins, Editor of Lilli Green Blog.
Bio-Based World News will bring this 5 minute feature to our readers every week. This will able to put a face to the brand and provide established businesses and new start-ups the crucial advise they need in this industry. If you would like to be interviewed about your own bio-based/sustainable business then please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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