site.btaBulgaria Has Unique Opportunity for Development in Biotechnology Sector

Bulgaria Has Unique Opportunity for Development in Biotechnology Sector
Bulgaria Has Unique Opportunity for Development in Biotechnology Sector
Photo: Nasekomo

IT technology was the revolution in the past, but now the revolution is the biotechnology sector - the new food chains, the new food security and the alternative proteins, Xavier Marcenac, co-founder and CEO of Nasekomo [Insect], said in an interview for BTA.

The Nasekomo company has been working for five years with the aim of developing a circular economic model and helping the innovative biotechnology sector to grow. It develops technologies that process insect products, know-how and data-driven solutions, which are offered as a single package to entrepreneurs who want to produce insect proteins.

Food security is among the leading topics on the world agenda, and in this context, it is important not only to optimize existing supplies, but also to find new sources of nutrients, Marcenac said. 

Insects are not very popular in Europe as food for humans, but when it comes to animal feed insects are an acceptable and used product. It is much closer to the natural diets of domestic animals, like chickens for instance, than currently used animal feed like soybeans, Marcenac added. For pets such as dogs and cats, the positive impact of insect protein intake is also observed. The positive health effects include better condition of the gastrointestinal tract, healthier skin, among others.

According to Marcenac, Bulgaria has the unique opportunity to take the lead in this still emerging market, because it is an agricultural country, with a very well-trained workforce and many people who understand the need to combat climate change. This country could establish itself as one of the leaders in the Balkans and even in Central and Eastern Europe in this field. This would enable research and development, create high-value jobs, and help other countries develop this new sector, Marcenac emphasized.

The company's plans to build an "industrial demonstrator" near Sofia have in the past caused public discontent, which according to Marcenac is a normal reaction, as innovation is always a source of fear and concern. The company is trying to dispel these fears through numerous initiatives - awareness campaigns, visits to those interested in the company's facilities, school visits and others. Marcenac explained that the production is of an extremely closed type - the so-called "box-in-a-box-in-a-box" method, but even if insects accidentally escape, they cannot survive for long. The particular insect the company works with is the black soldier fly - a tropical insect with an adult life cycle of only 4 days. It cannot survive long in local conditions, nor can it travel long distances. It has no mouth, so it cannot bite and spread disease, nor can it drink to store energy. 

Marcenac stressed that this type of production is subject to strict regulations, and the European Food Safety Authority has been collecting data on the use of insect-based proteins for years and has concluded that such products are safe.

He also noted that this sector is an example of a circular economy - it uses waste products from other industries, has zero carbon emissions, has no wastewater, and the residual products are an extremely effective soil conditioner. 

A new revolution is coming, and we should take advantage of it, Marcenac concluded. 

/MY/

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By 19:58 on 15.08.2022 Today`s news

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