French insect farming startup, Ÿnsect has become the first company to secure certification and marketing approval for its natural insect-based fertiliser, ŸnFrass.
The fertiliser is derived from the insect waste (or frass) of the mealworm species Tenebrio molitor, which feeds on cereal by-products at Ÿnsect’s facility in Dole, France.
After four years of R&D and collaborations with several leading institutions, the startup’s product can now be used in organic farming in accordance with regulations no. 384/2007.
ŸnFrass’ first customers include Compo Group, a European player in plant nutrition and Torres, a European wine brand.
Antoine Hubert, Ÿnsect CEO said: “We are particularly proud to be the first company to obtain certification and marketing approval for the world’s first fertiliser made from insect waste.
“This certification and market approval is the result of the most stringent evaluation procedures for this type of product and is a guarantee of the highest quality, giving us the ability to export globally.
“Since the opening of Ÿnsite, our pilot plant four years ago, Ÿnsect has sought to use the by-products of protein production from Molitor, in particular the insect waste called frass. The marketing of ŸnFrass products by Ÿnsect is part of a ‘zero waste’ vision using all components of the farmed insect and contributing to a more circular economy.”
He continued: “Ÿnsect is committed to becoming a valuable partner to farmers, professional and amateur gardeners and winemakers by offering high-performance natural fertilisers to complete the nutrition cycle”.
ŸnFrass offers multiple benefits in the competitive fertiliser market: It’s balanced in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK = 4-3-2) for optimal plant nutrition; it has an organic matter content of 85%; and it is a dry product in the form of granules (90% dry matter), odourless and easily transportable.
David Houben, author of two articles on ŸnFrass published in Nature, said: “ŸnFrass has great potential to be used as a partial or complete substitute for mineral fertilisers.
“Its high content of nutrients and organic matter as well as its physicochemical characteristics allow ŸnFrass to be as efficient as mineral fertilisers in plant nutrition and biomass production. Since phosphorus (an essential element for plant development) present in ŸnFrass is not very soluble, the risk of loss or immobilisation in soils is limited, which guarantees the availability of the nutrient for the plant throughout its growth.”
Houben continued: “Most importantly, the application of ŸnFrass can increase microbial metabolic activity and diversity, suggesting better soil function, especially when ŸnFrass is combined with a mineral fertiliser. Our results therefore suggest that Ÿnfrass is a very promising and lasting alternative to conventional mineral fertilsers”.
The Molitors are fed exclusively with raw materials authorised by French and European regulations for the feeding of farm animals.
ŸnFrass’ applications are widespread and can be used on all manner of crops, including vegetable and fruit cultivation, winemaking, meadows, lawns and gardens, ornamental flowers, field crops and particularly corn, rapeseed and wheat.
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