Intrexon Corporation, a leader in the engineering and industrialization of biology to improve the quality of life and health of the planet, and Darling Ingredients Inc., the world’s largest publicly traded developer and producer of sustainable natural ingredients from bio-nutrients, have formed a joint venture. EnviroFlight L.L.C. plans to significantly expand production of advanced ingredients for sustainable feed and nutrition derived from black soldier fly (BSF) larvae through the largest commercial-scale BSF larvae production facility in the United States.

Construction of the new plant employing EnviroFlight’s modular and scalable system will begin in May, supporting development of sustainable high-nutrition BSF ingredients for the $60 billion global animal feed industry. Initial production capacity is expected in the first quarter of 2018, and will be targeted toward supplying the livestock, aquaculture and pet food markets.

“Leveraging more than eight years of applied research and development, the new facility will employ our industrial BSF platform and opens the door to a sustainable source of high-quality nutrients for the aquaculture, livestock, and specialty pet feed industries,” said Glen Courtright, president and founder of EnviroFlight.

Randall Stuewe, chairman and CEO of Darling Ingredients said: “EnviroFlight’s BSF larvae represent an innovative approach to address challenges within the global food supply chain by providing environmentally friendly, nutritious ingredients for animal feed. This new facility will allow us to produce BSF at commercial volume and sets the foundation for potential future global expansion.”

EnviroFlight’s insect-based approach offers significant potential to convert nutrients from abundant food surpluses and renewable energy co-products into valuable proteins, oils and fertilizers. Additionally, from an ecological perspective, it also allows for decreasing dependence on non-sustainable protein sources for animal feed. Within the fish and poultry markets, BSF larvae also represent a more typical diet for these natural insectivores as compared to soy and other plant-based meals, making them an ideal candidate for nutritive feed ingredients.

John McLean, chief commercial officer of Intrexon’s Food Sector added: “EnviroFlight’s proprietary technologies for high-quality insect protein production can help meet the growing demand for sustainable, eco-friendly, protein-rich ingredients, particularly in aquaculture where fishmeal is largely reliant on wild caught fish. As we continue to advance our BSF larvae rearing and bioconversion technology, we look forward to forging a new frontier in protein supply and feed sustainability.”