Feeding cattle flies: Quebeers win awards in Mexico

MONTREAL – Two Laval University students and a biologist have won an award in Mexico for a circular economy project that uses black soldier fly larvae for waste removal but also for animal fodder.

In the presence of the Minister of the Environment, Steven Guilbault, students from the Department of Animal Sciences at Laval University, Mariève Dallaire-Lamontagne and Jean-Michel Allard-Prus, and biologist Jérémy Lavoie won the 2022 Youth Innovation Competition from the Environmental Cooperation Commission (a tripartite group with the US and Mexico) for the startup project Inscott.

Essentially, Inscott raises black soldier fly larvae to feed on farm waste like animal carcasses, a waste that is complex to handle and requires a lot of energy.

The larvae, an excellent source of protein, are then used as food for the animals, when they die, feed the larvae and the chain continues…

“What we are proposing is improving the way we manage animal waste in Quebec and Canada, using the potential of edible insects. So we’re talking about pet waste like carcasses, organs, feces, eggs,” Mariève Dallaire-Lamontagne explained to The Canadian Press while she was in Mexico with her companions.

After two weeks of being fed this waste, the fly larvae “can be incorporated into the diet of livestock such as chickens or pigs, but they can also be used as food for pets such as dogs or cats.” “.

The animal science master’s doctoral student points out that fly food is much more environmentally respectful than “conventional protein sources such as soy or fishmeal, which are associated with ecological issues.” .

Less GHG than traditional process

Agriculture produces a large amount of excess protein produced from brains, spines, intestines, bones, etc.

The traditional process by which these carcasses are processed is called rendering and turns the remains into protein for feed.

However, this process, as pointed out by Jean-Michel Allard-Prus, requires “an enormous amount of energy to heat all the biomass”, while we, our colleague Mariève Dallaire-Lamontagne added, “we use the larval digestive system” and “we use less resources, less space and less energy”.

Involved by the Canadian Press in Mérida, Mexico, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault agreed with the award recipients.

“The animal waste that we are dealing with as part of this project is a problem, as we have to use a large amount of energy to burn these animal carcasses. So finding an alternative based on nature’s teachings fits perfectly with the types of projects we’re trying to encourage here (at the Environmental Cooperation Committee meeting). .

Solutions for recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic

The Youth Innovation Contest 2022 invited North American youth between the ages of 18 and 30 to come up with creative and concrete solutions to “help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and identify the intersection between human health and the environment”.

Biologist Jérémie Lavoie said: “We can all see the fragility of food supply chains in times of pandemic,” adding that the Quebec trio wanted to “give a little bit of control back to the people.” communities, then cities”, to “create quality protein, then localize livestock waste, then be effective”.

“The next step for them is to see if they can do this on a commercial basis,” Minister Guilbeault said.

The Youth Innovation Challenge 2022 also awards a group of young American entrepreneurs and a group of young Mexicans.

Each of the three winning teams will receive up to $15,000 in start-up funds in addition to the benefit of mentoring for one year.

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