Waste to Protein on the World’s Smallest Footprint

Podcast Topic

Joining the pubcast to discuss insect protein as an alternative for the future is Katharina Unger and Dr. Pratibha Yadav.


Katharina Unger and Dr. Pratibha Yadav

Episode 71: Waste to Protein on the World´s Smallest Footprint


Unger is the CEO and founder of LIVIN Farms and an expert in edible insects and food innovation. She led the conversation by introducing her background and briefly mentioning the transformation of using insects as food protein. 8:35

Unger said she started questioning early in her career the required resources needed to produce livestock at a larger scale. After many years of research, carbon emissions studies and searching, an additive that can grow protein on the smallest possible footprint came to the forefront; insect protein. 9:41

Unger mentioned insect protein is highly digestible and for animals has an attractive taste. In addition, the environmental impacts of turning waste into protein is an effective organic byproduct. 11:05

Dr. Yadav discussed how the opportunity to utilize the black soldier fly was a decision based on its opportunity to offer low quality substrates and synthesize biomolecules into amino acids quickly. 19:30

While LIVIN Farms continues to have projects in Europe, Unger mentioned the team also does additional research in other regions which allows a wide variety of demographics to study when analyzing substrates and improvement factors. 23:17

Dr. Yadav said byproducts are already there for certain insect substrates and byproducts. In fact, she went on to say it’s a practical option as livestock production systems can be fed insects by crushing, mixing or distributing them as a way to save on costs and processing fees as well. 32:52

While the entire insect larva process is vertical farming, Unger mentioned from the start of production to the automated warehouse and then into the two-layer systems, they are never dependent on the soil. 39:10

In an effort to produce with the smallest possible footprint, the input substrate must have an adequate amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates during the nutrient composition, Dr. Yadav mentioned. 41:43

Wrapping up the conversation, Unger summarized the visionary work being done with insects as protein alternatives and restated the value the resource has on the planet’s ability to secure the food system and provide indefinite solutions for the future. 1:07:25

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