#4 Flies, Biomass Waste to Protein+ transformers of the future

Flies, Biomass Waste to Protein transformers of the future

This case is part of a case series written by Alexander Prinsen. It is the outcome of a research project where dozens of cases where analysed for their potential to merge (eco)Logical Thinking with (eco)Nomic Doing. The cases series are a first summery of main examples which are transformative for their industry. Each of these cases provide breakthrough thinking and scientific evidence how Physics, Biology and Green Chemistry can solve environmental degradation, provide better products, generate profitable business cases and contribute to the whole system we call home, Spaceship Earth.

Author: Alexander Prinsen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Systemic Design Image: Madeleyn Mendoza M, Turin, Italy
Version: 29 May 2020
Review status: Permanent Beta Version

Disclaimer: If you find facts which can be refined or which would elaborate the case further, please let me know. There is always room to do better and learn.

Tags:  Fish; feedstock; ocean; Krill; poultry; maggots; black soldier flies; house flies; wounds; healthcare; heat; protein; poultry waste; slaughter waste; organic waste; food waste; biomass; human faeces; farming; waste management; composting.

The relevance of this case

Within the 5 Kingdoms of Nature Insects play an important role as a main protein source for the kingdoms of bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. And insects also as its important role as pollinator for the Plant kingdom. Insects are also a transportation vehicle to move bacteria and fungi around. And insects are inspiring human engineers to learn and learn how to mimic their technology for human applications.

Insects come in all sorts of shapes and forms. Humans know them most as (butter)flies, grasshoppers, mosquito’s, bugs, beetles to name a few. Insects, which belong to the Animal kingdom, turn out to have the capacity to improve the agricultural system, improve the soil, provide an alternative source for biological chemicals, and contain very interesting pharmaceutical ingredients and much more as we will discover.  Looking closely to the web of life and the role insect’s play in it, it becomes evident they have a systemic role to play. It actually turns out insects, and flies more specifically, have an extremely important role to play in the nutrient cycles as protein source and pollination of our Spaceship Earth. When you understand the purpose of flies within the food web and their beneficial role for the ecological nutrient cycles much becomes clear.

Maybe more importantly this case will also bring forth the unexpected connections on how the human protein goldrush is the main driver for biodiversity loss in both oceans and tropical forests. To put this into perspective estimations predict the global fish stock will be depleted in 10 years’ time, which could be as soon as 2026. And the current global deforestation rate is destroying the tropical lungs of the plant within 10 years’ time (also around 2026), driving climate change, soil degradation and reduced oxygen production. The protein goldrush has become a highly controversial political driven topic by the need to secure the human protein supply chain and being also the main source of income for many poor countries. These are all unintended systemic consequences of a food system out of control. And yet the largest natural protein sources of all is already at our disposal, the fly larvae’s. These small creatures are able to produce everything we need to feed the human industrial animal farms.

So the renewed interest for insects as the main source for transformation of biomass can solve various systemic problems the existing industrial system has created, to name a few:

1st Insets will provide an alternative source of (animal) protein for the industrial animal farming;
2nd, because of the first solution, using Insets to feed industrial (carnivore) fish farms (Salmon, Trout and Tuna) will reduce the fishing capacity of the global oceans drastically as the largest volume of fished fish is destined for these farms.
3rd, the need for soya as protein source for industrial livestock (Cattle, Chickens, Sheep, Goats to name a few) farms will reduce land degradation and deforestation as insects can substitute this demand;
4th, agricultural (food)waste can be transformed using insects eliminating food loss in the supply chain;
5th, slaughterhouse waste can be transferred by flies, creating additional feedstock production
6th, insect proteins have agriculture, pharmaceutical and industrial applications;
7th, insect excrement’s and body waste can be used as fertilizer for the agricultural soil the insects feeds upon;
8th, flies have beneficial medicinal properties for our healthcare.

Introduction to Flies

In this case flies (and more specific Black Solder Flies) are the main actors. I will use the Black Solder Fly to explain why insets are the nature’s most effective and efficient organic waste transformers. Understanding the why and how of the different lifecycles of insects will provide insights in how insects have adapted to stay alive as being the most sought-after food (protein) source of the planet. Interesting enough understanding the role of insects in the web of life will also lead to a better understanding of the role of amino acids (there are 20 amino acids which are essential to the Animal kingdom) as building block for proteins, fatty acids and life in general. And understand amino acids will help to better understand the need of reducing the human consumption of animal protein and why we need to increase the protein intake of the other 4 kingdoms. And it will become evident how changing the existing (animal) protein intake will mitigate all the negative impacts associated with the animal protein goldrush (more about this later) into positive ones.

Do you remember seeing chickens picking away leaves in search for a good meal? Or how cows, pigs or goats eat the grass and seem not to care what comes with it? Or can you remember how flies instantly flock to fresh manure, rotting vegetables or dead meat to feast on or looking for a place to lay their eggs. They can sting, produce an annoying sound and have the habit to land (and contaminate) food sources.

And it turns out flies have a long history with humans, in both positive and negative relationships. The negative relationship we also seem remember is how flies can bring microbes, viruses and parasites when they came in contact with humans. And yet historically the use of flies has been decisive in winning or losing wars. Forensic researches (Forensic entomology) are able for instance to tell the time of death of the victim based on the different life cycle of flies[1]. And thanks to the fruit flies and houseflies humans would not gain profound insights on how space travel will impact biological lifeforms. [2]

The Protein Paradigm and systemic link to the degradation of oceans and land

A big misconception about proteins was introduced by the industrial food industry since 1900. Governments, scientists and the industrial food company marketing departments convinced consumers the only way to access the essential 20 amino acids was by eating meat (Fish and livestock). Yet these industrial farmed animals also need to get their 20 essential proteins from somewhere. So the industry looked for the cheapest and easiest proteins sources available being the oceans and agriculture systems. The protein “goldrush” has led to the biodiversity degradation of the planet’s oceans and land. I’ll explain this later in more detail.

In order to understand this misconception a small biochemistry lesson is required. Proteins come in all different shapes and sizes. Proteins themselves consist of amino acids of which 20 are essential to build complex living cells. Interesting enough, specific the Animal Kingdom (including humans) lacks the ability to produce some of the essential amino acids by themselves. This evolutionary disadvantage makes the Animal Kingdom highly dependable on the other four kingdoms for the intake of the essential building blocks.

It turns out the faster the life cycle of a species the higher the probability the species has a high concentration of protein, fatty acids and lipids. And these proteins are enabling nature to build complex structures in relative short amount of time using the building block of only amino acids. So these fast growing species are as such Bacteria (single cell Protein), Fungi, Algae (micro and macro), Plants and thus also insects (being the exception of the Animal kingdom). We know now these protein sources combined are able to provide access the 20 essential proteins besides industrial meat. So actually humans can skip animal livestock as their main protein source for the 20 essential amino acids.

Aquatic ocean fish protein goldrush
Because Fish are high in proteins (including the essential amino acids) they are a good source for feeding industrial farmed animals (omnivore fish, like Salmon and Trout, and livestock, like Cattle, Pigs and Chickens). 30% of the global fish harvested goes towards feeding the industrial animals (fish and cattle) farms. To give you an idea about the amount needed to feed omnivore fish. Omnivore fish need 2.3 kg fish feed to gain 1kg. To ensure cattle would be digest fish, humans re-engineered cattle their microbial indigestive system to ensure the high productivity standards for milk and meat production. Did you ever see cows catching and eating fish in nature?

This than raises the question about how sustainable fishing certificates are when they only are applicable for human consumption and do not apply when used as animal feed. One can only assume this has to lead to unsustainable fishing practise to constant supply the growing industrial animal farms. We are already seeing the impact of a depleted ocean, as the deep ocean creatures like giant squids, white sharks and whales are coming closer to shores and water surfaces to find the last fish to consume. To make matters worse the fish industry is diverting its attention to the starting point of the protein supply chain in the ocean, namely Krill, on which the whole ocean food chain depends. The ocean food chain will inevitable breakdown when ocean protein is unable to cascade through the ocean food chain. Estimations are the fish populations will collapse in 10 years’ time, which could be as soon as 2026.[3]

The Land protein goldrush
A similar systemic degradation is happing on land. The land based agriculture equivalent of fish protein is the soya bean and to a lesser degree maize and potatoes. The Asian were the first to acknowledge the soya benefit, although they had to ferment the bean first to access its nutritional value. Due to the industrial agriculture these plant based proteins are the drivers of a devastating global deforestation to keep up the protein demand from the global industrial livestock farms. In addition land is also cleared for grazing of cattle for their meat production. The rate of deforestation is now having global impact changing local and global climates. [4]

Animal protein waste as source of feed
The industrial animal farming system also produces animal waste leftovers through their slaughter industry. In the past the industry through it was efficient to feed the living livestock their dead relatives, which in essence is cannibalism. This practise therefore let to a global virus outbreak (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease). The result was a global incineration of a whole generation of livestock to contain the pandemic. In those days no commercial industrial solution existed to reuse the animal waste stream, and now we know better. Nature created Insects, although belonging to the animal kingdom, to be able to transform dead meat to close the nutrient cycles and end the transmittion of deadly bacteria and viruses.

How nature recycles protein

This brings us back to the question as to how nature recycles and why fast-growing protein storage facilities play an important role in the web of life. When we start following how the proteins move around, we discover Plants, Algae, Fungi and Bacteria together ensure protein gets accumulated all the way into the Animal kingdom. The 4 kingdoms together provide the transformation capacity to ensure the clean-up (breakdown and re-assembly) of local available biomass. In general nature recycles nutrients through different kingdom of nature than where they originated from to avoid contamination. Nature ensured that this waste transformation system benefitted the whole system, in its purest form as protein.

It would seem nature discovered it was missing a natural cleaning system to resolve the transformation of dead meat, rotting plants and decaying manure. Nature had to make an exception to her rule and created insects (including worms, flies and others) for remaining composting job. Nature equipped Insects and specifically flies to be immune to bacteria and viruses. More precise the larvae of flies have the capacity to digest harmful microbes, breaking them down during consumption and leaving no traces behind. This makes larvae’s the most efficient and effective natural cleaning mechanisms nature created. When observing nature one notices fish, birds and animals prefer to eat flies and their larvae’s because of this reason. It is for most animals the easiest way to access essential amino acids.

Pollination importance
Flies tend to have no preference where they get their food from in order to survive during their short lifespan. This makes flies one of the most effective pollinators in nature, next to bees and butterflies. In their evolution the fly lifecycle does what it do best, breaking down nutrients, nature in return created a pollination species as additional benefit to the whole web of life. [5]

So simple and yet so complex
In order for the fly to be successful in its reproduction nature created a high-tech flying machine to ensure the highest probability the fly stays alive. Flies are part of the Dipterra species (meaning 2 wings in Greek) and belong to the Animal kingdom. Flies have been around for a while. Archaeology research estimates the first flies emerged around 225 million years. It is assumed because flies have 2 wings and bees have 4 wings, bees have evolved at a later stage than the fly because of the bee’s complexity. This would imply flies are the oldest pollinators of our Spaceship Earth. Thanks to flies they might be the first ones to help the emerging Plant kingdom to have sex between the male and female trees. Today this dependency is still seen as for instance specific flies are responsible for pollinating the Cocoa, Mango, Chilli and Black Pepper, Carrot, Fennel and Onion flowers. This is making it even more important to apply integrated Agro-Forestry for our crops to ensure biodiversity is maintained (see also Las Gaviotas and Novamont as case examples.)

It is estimated there are over 1 million two wings insects type (including mosquitos, gnats, midges etc) in our Spaceship, of which only over 150.000 species of flies are described. Flies are found in almost every corner of our planet. To put this into perspective, there are 10 quintillion insects alive at any given moment, which translates into 200m insects for every human alive or to put it differently there are in total 1GT of insect biomass compared to 0.06GT of Humans accordingly by a study by Yinon M. Bar-On. This implies Flies account over 10 % of all living life which is an achievement, considering the size of a fly (very small to over 10 cm in length). This should make you wonder about who rules actually the natural system. And it should be no coincidence why large numbers of insects are needed in order to maintain the whole planetary web of life.

Let the size of a fly not deceive you, flies are remarkable animals. For instance the horsefly is one of the fasted flying animals in our Spaceship, clocking over 145 km/hr. Being on the bottom of food chain flies had to develop many remarkable tricks to survive as long as possible. The fly’s metabolic transformation process is also the highly efficient ones. First the fly needs to build up all the building blocks as fast as it can, if it what to become a fly in the first place. The most effective building blocks available in nature are the proteins stored as lipids. This is the construction material source during its incubation phase (as pupae) for the sophisticated engineering marvels, its eyes, wings, legs and much more. The final construction material is capable of withstanding large forces on in its structure and we are still discovering other remarkable capabilities its material (chitin) has. It is more remarkable if you realise they are able to make all this sophisticated technology just out of proteins.

> For more information see also the other cases (Brewery, Seaweed, Algae, Fungi and Bacteria) related to protein production. <


It was the German entomologist Erwin Lindner, who created the first comprehensive Fly Bible “Die Fliegen der Paläarktischen Region”. His research was the first to show the protein potential of insects. Unfortunate his visionary research created controversy within the existing scientific community during his time.

It was Father Godfrey Nzamujo at the Songhai Centre in Benin (West Africa) who showed the true potential of an integrated system where black soldier flies and its larvae where central to a cascading protein system. Father Nzamujo work proved in the 1980’s that it was possible to create profitable small scale integrated farms in Africa using the Black Solder Fly as Protein transformer. The system Father Nzamujo created used slaughter waste as feedstock for the larvae’s to feed chicken and fish farms.

His ideas and prototyping inspired the commercial pioneers for black soldier flies farms like AgriProtein, Protix and EnviroFlight. These companies are now globally pushing to install small scale and large scale production units. Thanks to their entrepreneurial drive it will be possible to solve the organic waste problem, ocean depletion, deforestation, world hunger, energy challenge and health care all at the same time.

Systemic Design of the Insect Protein Waste Transformers

While this case dives deeper into Black Solder Flies, the following Systemic Design can also be applied find other relevant systemic improvements for the other fly species.

The fly’s remarkable larvae stage
It is interesting to observe that flies, like other insects, only a brief period of their life are actually the flies as we know them. Flies have a 35 days life cycle from egg to fly (eggs hatch after 3-4 days, 2weeks as larvae and 2 weeks as pupae and 5 days as adult). Their conversion rate is remarkable; 1g of eggs grows into 5.7kg of larvae. In general larvae grow 400% in just a few days.

The fly starts as an egg and hatches fast to become a larvae, or maggot (meaning larvae of a fly). The larvae (eg Maggots) eggs are extracted from the fly nursery where the flies have just the right conditions to multiply themselves. The eggs are here left to hatch into larvae’s before they are put to work. Some larvae’s have the opportunity to become real flies for breeding of the next generation of larvae’s.

It is actually this larvae stage where the fly brings the biggest value to nature. The larvae will begin a eat feat for a period of 10 days (depending on the fly species) on the available food source. During this period the larvae is building up fast internal proteins and fats (fatty acids) for its final transformation stage (this stage the fly is called a pupae or pupal). During the pupae stage the fly needs to construct itself all the required instruments for its insect phase before it can finally hatch out of the pupae shell.

How does the fly achieve the protein build-up you may ask; that is indeed a very good question?

To achieve this nature equipped flies with one of the most efficient and effective food waste to protein metabolic conversion systems in nature. The fly’s capacity to build up proteins so fast is because their poses a unique gut bacterial flora system. Black solder flies have no working mouthparts, this means they cannot bite and spread diseases as they do not move between food source and egg laying sites, making them more sterile than the other fly species. The larvae’s excreted outside their body a unique enzyme to do the biting for them.[6] This ammonia-producing enzyme (The Enzyme Urease and the Occurrence of Ammonia in Maggot-Infected Wounds) is able to breakdown the complex food source molecules into smaller molecule pieces which the fly guts are then able to digest.  In addition their gut system contains unique bacteria floras which are capable to transform the incoming nutrients extremely efficient into fatty acids and proteins. For instance the black solder larvae are able to convert an astonishing 10 kg/m2 per day into protein because of this

So time we dive into the opportunities flies have to offer for our industrial system.

Input flows
Due to their unique enzymes and gut bacteria larvae’s are able to consume a variety of meals, mainly containing of fibres, cellulose and sugar like molecules. Although it must be noted these sources need to be free of pesticides, insecticides and antibiotics as this will contaminate the larvae’s themselves. The ideal food sources for the larvae are:

(a) Organic waste, for instance spent grains from breweries and ethanol production;
(b) Food waste from kitchens, supermarkets and food processing industry;
(c) Manure from human excrement’s and animals; [7]
(d) Slaughter house waste (consisting of blood, fat, intestinal, carcasses and offal);
(e) and dead meat of decayed animals.

During the feasting larvae’s are picky on temperature and humidity, so these needs to be controlled.

First use the CO2 emissions
The flies breathe out large amounts of CO2, especially in the concentrated places where they breed (indeed, just like other Animals do) which needs to be ventilated out. The excess CO2 can be used to feed for instance spirulina algae which in than can feed a fish and livestock farm.

Second use the ammonia emissions
The ammonia emissions from the nursery and feeding pods could be filtered and used as feedstock for ammonia loving bacteria or even batteries or as fertilizer.

Third use the heat
Larvae produce quite an amount of heat during their feeding feast; the temperature in the substrate can heat up to 45 degrees Celsius. This heat can be used to warm up water for local, industrial or consumer consumption.

Fourth use the enzymes
We learned larvae’s secrete large quantities of proteolytic ammonia producing enzymes so larvae’s can digest the food. [8] These enzymes have a wide variety of medical and biomass breakdown applications.

Fifth harvesting the larvae’s (pupae)
The larvae’s are harvest when they are ready to crawl towards a dark corner (which mostly is a bucket) located at the sides of the feeding grounds. The dark place is where the pupae prepare itself for the final transformation, becoming a respectable fly. This natural instinct of the fly to go towards dark spaces makes it easy for farmers to collect them. After the collection the pupae are killed using extreme cold in order to preserve their lipids and protein. The pupae contain large quantities of protein (over 80%) and fatty acids consisting of 17 amino acids including 9 essentials useful for the Animals[9] kingdom. Then the maggots are palletised and processed into a variety of applications.

(a) Animal feedstock (humans, cattle, fish and prawns) and Pet food, providing additional health benefits for the animals.
(b) Extract the lipids from the Fatty Acids to produce Biofuel and even soap.
(c) Extract the large amounts of Lauric Acid  from the lipids for food flavour agent or for cosmetics.

Sixth, the Health Care Route
The positive human’s symbiotic relationships with flies are only recently being rediscovered. Flies have medicinal properties [10] something the ancient Mayan Indians and Aboriginals already know. They used these larvae benefits for cleaning and healing wounds. The French surgeons Ambroise Parè and Dominique-Jean Larrey in the 18th century discovered by observing the soldier wounds that certain maggots could improve the wound healing. The U.S. surgeon William S. Baer was one of the first who systematically started to apply this woundhealing knowledge from the World War I battlefields to treat military and civilian patients. This science field, BioSurgery, uses maggots for Ulcer and wound treatment. Microbiologist Milton Wainwright for instance used the maggot fumes to tread tuberculosis patients. And conquerors such as Genghis Khan understood the tactical advantage for recovering wounded soldiers faster for battle.

To use Maggots for health care applications it is required they are bred and fed sterile organic biological feedstock. They can be put to use for either cleaning wounds for Ulcer treatment through Maggot Debridement Therapy (MDT)  or maggots can provide treatment for lung infections. The maggots emit a gas containing, Ammonia and two amine components (di-methylamine tri-methylamine), which are able to inhibit a strain of tuberculosis bacteria. It was microbiologist Milton Wainwright who first showed this was effective.

Increasingly it is found maggots are the new allies in the fight against anti-biotic resistant (MRSA & VRE) bacteria strains as maggots are able to kill the bacteria by simply eating them. The maggots are able to produce anti-bacterial effects through the secretion of their enzymes and their inhibition of harmful bacteria in their gut system. This combined makes them extremely effective in neutralizing the harmful effects of these bacteria. So there is no need for antibiotics anymore, the enzymes from the maggots can do the trick just or even more effective.

So the maggots as such do an ingenious work as they only eat dead damaged flesh. During their work they (I) remove a food source for bacteria; (II) they sanitation the wound by eating and digesting the bacteria in the process; (III) By eating the dead tissue the healthy skin tissue get a better oxygen diffusion reducing the food source for anaerobic bacteria; (IV) the enzymes the larvae secrete turn out to be the same our human tissue requires to heal. (V) Additional the secretion of Urea, ammonia and Calcium Carbonate raise the pH of the wounds, creating Antibacterial effect. (VI) The antibacterial saliva the larvae produce also with works against infected wounds due to their beneficial and effective work they are able to substitute plasters.

Seventh create fertilizer
The remaining liquid of the maggot feeding ponds can be used for fertilizer as it made up of their poo and pee (yes they are just like other animals). It is contains Ammonia (NH3), Potassium (K), Urea, Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), trace elements like Manganese, Zinc and Magnesium and off course the Enzymes, which is just how plants like it. Also the fly manure from the nursery can be converted into a fertilizer. And the chitin from the fly cages are used.

Eighth produce biopolymers
The fly skeleton in the breeding area (the fly’s life end after breeding) and the larvae’s body shells (the larvae transitions through different stages of live and produces in each stage a new our protection layer) are used. It contains high level of chitin,  being the second most abundant natural polymer found in nature. This polymer can be used for various applications due to its biodegradability and as antimicrobial agent. For instance for Textiles polymers.

Implementing / Realism

The case of the flies made me learn and understand better how nature has profoundly systemically integrated her natural systems which are able to solve many of the human industrial system problems. It also shows the importance of how flies are beneficial for pollination next to bees and yet they are seldom taken into account when humans talk about pollination. And without flies’ plants will not be able to thrive thus impacting our global food supply. This case also shows the importance of cascading biomass within the 5 kingdoms of Nature. As such this case shows how it is possible to generate so many additional cash flows which the current system is not able to achieve. It is a reminder how all food systems are connected and correlated with each other.

This case also shows how the existing animal protein narrative has left the ocean go empty and the ancient forest taken down. It would be smart to start demanding transparency about what our livestock are actually eating and start demanding also a sustainable labelling for livestock feedstock. If you image where our ancestors came from, being the ocean, we, as a matter of speech, are taking out the life of our oceans where all life originate from. The carbon in the ocean can be restored when we stop catching (female) fish for protein for our cattle and omnivore fish production and mitigate towards insect protein production.

To make the most out of the maggots the use of Genetic Modified Organisms (GMO) crops and pesticides needs also to be stopped in order to let the waste transformers do what they do best. It will challenge the current waste management system to move towards organic as more and more alternatives integrated ecological solutions require non genetic modified crops to succeed.

Implementing these systems shows the potential for combining larvae farms near the source of the organic waste stream, while at the same time supplying local livestock farms with animal feedstock. With maggots it is now finally possible to convert waste slaughter meat and manure from the livestock back into feedstock for the same animals using the flies for transformation system for the production of protein. This is truly a circular never ending circle of the shortest agricultural value chain with the lowest Ecological impact you can get!

For long Governmental Regulations, mainly the western world, which have withheld the rollout of using maggots. Long flies were viewed as unhealthy, due to various contamination concerns. It is one of the reason for instance why the adaptation in the European Union has been lagging behind compared the rest of the world, being USA, Africa and Asia. Changing the laws on waste disposal or in this case regeneration is a fight against old paradigms which tend to be persistent against change.

The above implies the largest protein transformation ecosystem available to humans has always been insects and their larvae. Now with the daring entrepreneurs who are putting this system to work they are enabling a complete mind-shift on how and why proteins are required for the human consumption. They are proving sufficient protein can be produced on land by tapping into available waste streams, using insects as waste transformers. The systemic impact to the food waste processing industry and food cultivation industry will dramatically change how the food value chain is organised.  So it is time we start to do better and move forward!

It is the first part of their lives what makes them remarkable creatures. Before they become a fly they spend their life as larvae’s or maggots eating away the food before they are transformed into the sophisticated flying machine, the fly. And it is their larvae stage what makes flies so uniquely equipped for the task at hand. It is the survival instinct of the Fly where the solution lies to use its natural transformation cycle to clean up organic waste streams in urban and rural areas. And there lies their systemic impact on our agricultural system.

Leading innovators

Next to Agriprotein, the other leading Black Solder Flies are USA based EnviroFlight, Dutch based Protix, France based Ynsect. For more information you can visit the EU funded research PROteINSECT’s. Or visit the sector annual conference.

Also the Do It Yourself (DIY) community also providing various blue prints how to setup your own black soldier flies farm and blogs like Paul Olivier. And in the Art & design world various artists are show cases possible options like Katharina Unger.

My gratitude goes out to

I want to thank AgriProtein and the Drew family for the opportunity to visit their farm in South Africa during my world travel in 2013. Through the one day internship I learned more than I could image about the emerging business model. Also the book “The Story of the Fly” and “Protein Crunch” by Jason Drew helped me to understand the systemic impact flies will have as biomass transformations.

References and further reading

Agriprotein – WeForum – Why the world needs insects
Agriprotein – Wired – Food of Larvae
Agriprotein – TEDxTableMountain – Engineering a better world – the technology of repairing the future

Books – The story of the fly
Books – Protein Crunch

Songhai Centre – Father Godfrey Nzamujo
Songhai Sustainability Project Part 1  &  Part 2 & Part 3 &  Part 4
The Counter – Maggot Revolution

Wired – Maggots bring the heat
BBC – Maggots are the future of food
The black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens – a promising source for sustainable production of proteins, lipids and bioactive substances –  doi.org/10.1515/znc-2017-0030
New Scientist: Animals may be fed Manure bred Maggots to make Meat Sustainable
Geert Bruggeman – Maggots: the perfect protein source
All that’s interesting – Maggot Therapy

And here a list of all interesting facts about flies
And some decided to make a pet out of a fly. Some have found it is possible to string a rope around on the fly and have it power a paper kite.


[1] The first recorded criminal research based on flies originates from 13th century China, where Sung Tzu wrote his observations in his book “The Washing away of Wrongs”.

[2] NASA has been using fruit flies to study the effects of space travel and radiation (fruit flies reproduce within 7 days from larvae to adulthood making it possible to detect DNA mutations in a short period of time).

[3] Note: One Solution would be start fishing without fish nets, using only water bubbles. This will ensure only catching male fish so the female fish ensures the reproduction capacity of the fish species https://www.frontiersin.org/10.3389/conf.fmars.2014.02.00147/event_abstract.

[4] It is important to note these crops extract large amounts of trace elements from the soil for their seed (bean) production, which need to be replenished to avoid degradation.

[5] Interesting enough the Institute of Insect Science from the Zhejiang University in China has found that flies host on average over 1.9 million bacteria in rural areas and over 33 million bacteria in city slums. This implies that cities are highly contaminated with a large variety of bacteria, which are able to use the fly transportation system to spread around. These bacteria and fungi therefore hitchhike with the insects to find their food sources. Again there is always a beneficial exchange between species to get the most out of their relationship. And yet most flies stay away from humans and their urban environments so they actually do little harm to humans.

[6] This is very similar to the digestive system of Fungi.

[7] An interesting fact to share is farmers have reported from their own experience how larvae’s vanished their manure after feasted on it ( http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/lead/pdf/02_article02_en.pdf ).

[8] These enzymes can be washed out by putting the maggots in a salt water submersion. The enzymes will float to the surface where they can be easily skimmed off.

[9] Note, black solder flies are low in Vitamin like B6 and B12 compared to crickets for example

[10] The Blowfly, like the green bottle fly, also these larvae have been found useful in cleaning wounds, the maggot debridement treatment. https://owlcation.com/stem/-Maggots-Blowfly-Biology-and-Human-Wounds],

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