A group of sixth form pupils from The Leys, Cambridge, gained insights into how science is being used to aid sustainability when they visited Entomics Biosystems.
The business, based at Madingley near Cambridge, was set up in 2015 by a group of students from the University of Cambridge with support from the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre’s ‘Accelerate Cambridge’ programme.
Insect farming, or “insect biomass conversion”, involves feeding waste directly to insects. The insects convert this low-value biomass into higher-valuer insect mass, rich in proteins, which can be used as a sustainable source of high-quality animal feed or “insect flour”. The sight of trays writhing with insects may be off-putting but it is being seen as a way to mitigate the scandal of the waste of billions of pounds worth of food globally and as a way of reducing the use of expensive and environmentally unsustainable sources of protein.
The pupils learned about the company’s research activities including identifying the best species to use, the optimal rearing environment, factors affecting the selection and blending of food wastes and how the process can be turned into a sustainable production unit for use in the real world.
“There are so many ways this research could benefit humankind and it was an absolutely fascinating visit. We are very keen to develop long-term links with such important work,” said Nick Robinson, Head of Careers at The Leys, who organised the visit.