SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA — NGGene Canada opened its North American Insect Center (NAIC) in collaboration with Bühler for assessment of black solider fly (BSF)varieties on various by-product streams.

The center will serve as a testing and demonstration facility for both companies' customers.

The NAIC will allow customers to assess BSF varieties, operational parameters, and practices for efficient industrial-scale production. This collaborative approach enables informed decisions and maximizes BSF's potential as a sustainable protein source.

The center will serve as a hub for innovation, supporting the growth of the insect protein industry in North America.

Additionally, the center will offer workshops, training sessions, and seminars to educate the industry stakeholders on the benefits and best practices of insect protein production.

NRGene's extensive BSF variety collection, combined with advanced genomics and phenotyping capabilities, enables the development of tailored BSF strains with improved functionalities.

To test the industrial performance of the new strains, Bühler has installed its advanced Trial Rearing Unit (TRU), a climate-controlled larvae growth chamber capable of simulating industrial conditions. The TRU is used for optimizing the growth and development of BSF larvae to obtain a validated mass balance for industrial performance.

Preliminary trials conducted at the NAIC with the TRU have yielded promising results, demonstrating the potential NRGene's BSF larvae paired with Bühler's advanced rearing technology, the companies said.

"The performance of NRGene's BSF larvae in these trials highlights the potential of the collaboration between NRGene and Bühler,” said Dr. Gil Ronen, chief executive officer and co-founder of NRGene. “This demonstrates the potential of combining advanced technology with genetic innovation, paving the way for impactful advancements in the insect industry.”

The center will serve as a meeting place for clients, particularly those from North America, to collaboratively optimize insect plant operation, said Andreas Baumann, head of market segment insect technology at Bühler.

“Together, we can fine-tune both biological and technological aspects, to maximize the value of our clients' projects," he said.

The Center is located in Saskatoon at the Innovation Center of the Saskatchewan University. This region is notable as Saskatchewan produces tens of millions of tons of byproducts from grain processing plants each year.

NRGene Canada is in advanced talks with local food producers to evaluate the suitability of their waste for growing BSF.

The official opening of the NAIC is scheduled for July 30.