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ETH Zurich and Eawag researchers are developing a method to produce animal feed from biowaste products. This is one of 14 projects in the Engineering for Development programme funded by the Sawiris Foundation over the past decade and entering its next 5-year cycle.
The United Nations anticipates a world population growth of approximately one billion people in the coming decade. "With such an accelerated growth in human population, how do we manage large amounts of waste, especially in urban areas of developing countries that suffer from poor public and environmental health?" asks Moritz Gold, doctoral student in the group of ETH Zurich professor Alexander Mathys. Gold's interests lie in novel systems for waste management and using waste as a sustainable resource for urban development. In his research, he focuses on the use of biowaste as a raw material for propagating the Black Soldier fly (Hermetia illucens). The larvae of the fly not only breaks down waste material into compost, but can also be used as an animal feed.
Venture - Countries - Production - Fly - Larvae
While composting is deemed an unprofitable venture in most countries, the production of fly larvae generates a high-value product. A product that changes the economics of waste management and provides opportunities for a marketable commodity in developing countries. The revenue stream that the larvae feed creates, not only supports a sustainable waste management system, but also contributes to the protein needs of a rapidly growing population.
The upcycling of biowaste begins in the "love cage" – a net with water and warm lighting where the female fly mates and lays her eggs. Gold then transports the eggs into his lab where they hatch into the larval stage of their lifecycle. Wielding a "Midas touch," he and his collaborators optimise the larvae development by testing their growth capacity in diverse formulations of biowaste such as: everyday...
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