World's largest insect protein plant underway in Spain

Salamanca, Spain is home to the largest insect protein production plant in the world with innovative, proprietary technology.

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Tenebrio Molitor Copyright Ynsect 11zon 1
International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed

I have blogged here a couple of times about insects and insect protein, discussing feed formulation and animal welfare, plus other stories in other media. I like this subject. One time, I interviewed Mrs. Adriana Casillas, CEO of Tebrio in Spain. It was an enlightening interview. Tebrio is a company based in Salamanca, Spain, which manufactures insect protein and other products from Tenebrio molitor, or mealworms.

Well, Tebrio just announced that they are building the largest insect protein plant in the world right there in Salamanca. The 90,000-sq-meter plant will have 250 employees and will produce 100,000 metric tons (MT) per year of Tenebrio molitor protein. The first phase will be finished by 2024. The company started operations in 2017, so that means that within 7 years, it will become the largest producer in the world. The plant will be fully fueled by solar energy.

The process goes from raising at industrial level this insect and then transforming –both, the insect and the feces – into raw materials such as proteins and fats used in animal nutrition, as well as biofertilizers for agricultural uses. It is a unique and patented process model, particularly the insect breeding process. All of this is done with the intention of producing more sustainable feeds for poultry, swine and aqua species.

Protein and oils are extracted from the larvae, while biofertilizers are extracted from the feces. Biofertilizers are used for agriculture and soil regeneration. Additionally, they use the shell or exoskeleton to render chitin, from which chitosan (deacetylated chitin) is produced. Chitosan is used in cosmetics, bioplastics and other uses.

Casillas is also president of the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), an entity that works hard to push these products in the EU. One of these examples is when the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) declared that insects are safe, even for human consumption. It is the goal of IPIFF’s regulatory work to open markets for nutritious, palatable and safe products for animal feeding.

I won’t go deeper into how sustainable this is – reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, less water usage to produce one kilo of protein and very low land use. Plus it has wonderful nutrient content such as an amino acid profile, that in some cases is even better than that of fish meal products.

And Casillas told me that they would love to work for Latin America.

So, kudos to Tebrio with the largest insect protein production plant in the world.

What do you think?

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