Aquaculture for all

Singaporean insect-for-aquafeed firm raises $1.6 million

Feed ingredients +1 more

Insect technology company Protenga has raised US $1.6 million from Roslin Technologies and Seeds Capital.

The team at Protenga, who are developing a Smart Insect Farm concept to provide ingredients for the aquafeed sector

© Protenga

The company is looking to use black soldier fly to convert food waste into protein for the growing aquaculture and pet food markets. The investment allows Protenga to ramp up production of its insect-based products, conduct cutting-edge genetic research, and take its decentralised Smart Insect Farm model, which transforms agricultural and food waste into valuable products, to waste owners around Asia.

According to Protenga, the world faces a 60 billion tonne protein shortage by 2030, and around one-third of all food is wasted. Currently, livestock, aquaculture and pets are fed mainly with fishmeal and cash crops like corn and soy. Insects offer a natural alternative that requires less land, water and food compared to other feed ingredients. Protenga’s unique zero-waste approach also transforms larval excrements (frass) into high-quality bio-fertiliser.

In partnership with Roslin Technologies, a UK-based leader in animal genetics and agri-sciences, Protenga is embarking on research to identify genetic insect strains that will further improve bioconversion performance in its Smart Insect Farm systems. The work will be carried out at Roslin Technologies’ soon-to-be-completed bespoke genetic nucleus facility near Edinburgh.

To support these activities, Protenga is defying the gloom of the Covid-19 economy and hiring across a number of biology, engineering, operations and R&D roles.

“Production and bioconversion opportunities using the black soldier fly are enormous,” announced Leo Wein, CEO of Protenga. “Working with Roslin Technologies provides the perfect opportunity to expand Protenga’s capabilities and scale up across our key markets. We’re also delighted to receive support and funding from Seeds Capital — together, we plan to drive transformational change in the global food supply chain.”

Glen Illing, CEO of Roslin Technologies, said: “This investment is the start of our journey into the insect protein and nutrition market. Protenga has the right technologies, capabilities and culture to succeed in providing new sustainable production and waste bioconversion practices using Black Soldier Fly. We are also excited about applying enhanced breeding technologies to develop improved insect lines with Protenga from a new genetic nucleus facility currently being built near Edinburgh. Protenga is at the cutting edge of sustainable protein production and is the next important building block in our portfolio of agritech ventures.”

Geoffrey Yeo, general manager of Seeds Capital – the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore – commented: “Protenga’s proprietary solutions in black soldier fly production and waste bioconversion enables the company to have a differentiated and scalable business model in the insect protein space, and addresses the growing gap in the demand and supply of animal feed. The investment in Protenga builds on our existing focus in agrifood technologies and further develops the alternative protein ecosystem in Singapore. We are delighted to be supporting Protenga as they continue to grow and expand their operations.”

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