South African company Agriprotein Technologies is testing maggots as a potential alternative animal feed protein for livestock and fish.

According to the company, the common household fly lays up to 750 eggs in its life (up to one month), and 1 kilogram of eggs will turn into 380 kilograms of protein within three days of hatching. One ton of final product requires 5 tons of maggots. "Magmeal works exceptionally well and is an easily convertible protein for livestock and fish," said Elsje Pieterse, of the University of Stellenbosch’s animal science department and a researcher with Agriprotein Technologies. Magmeal also does not contain toxins associated with vegetable proteins, he said.

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More research is being done to study cost and availability; the company's small pilot plant is scheduled to be scaled up in 2012 to a trial plant.