FlyFeed, an international insect farming startup, conducted a study showing that the application of insect compost enhances the weight of aboveground corn and spinach plant parts up to 17% and 44%, respectively, and suppresses the development of pathogenic nematodes in soil by up to 50%. These highly effective insect fertilizers are garnering market demand, with FlyFeed already securing its first supplier contracts.
The study was conducted on corn and spinach seeds. Before planting, insect compost containing black soldier fly larvae frass, and remnants was introduced into the soil to a depth of 2 cm at a concentration of 0.025 g/cm2, 0.05 g/cm2, 0.1 g/cm2. Plants were grown under laboratory conditions at 25°C, 70% humidity, and a photoperiod of 16/8 hours. Two species of root-knot nematode larvae, Meloidogyne incognita, and Meloidogyne arenaria, were introduced into the soil.
Highlights of the research results include:
- FlyFeed’s fertilizer at a concentration of 0.025 g/cm2 increased
the weight of aboveground corn plant components by 17%.
- The weight of aboveground spinach plants was greater by 12%
and 44% at concentrations of 0.025 and 0.05 g/cm2 of insect compost, respectively.
- The number of bacteriophage nematodes spiked from 59% to 76% after 25 days with the introduction of insect compost at a concentration of 0.025 g/cm2 into spinach pots. Bacteriophage nematodes are crucial for the regulation of fungi and bacteria in soil, the balance of which makes soil healthier and more fertile, leading to increased growth of plants.
- The number of plant parasitic nematodes decreased by 45% after 25 days with the introduction of insect compost at a concentration of 0.025 g/cm2. The root system stays protected. Thus, the development of plants accelerates.
“Insect-based compost is known to be rich in chitin originating from molted larvae in multiple stages. Recently, the supplementation of chitin into the soil showed high effectiveness in protecting crops by controlling the various pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and parasitic nematodes. More interestingly, the additional research also reported that insect-based compost fertilizer is promising for use as an organic stimulator for plant growth and development. With a high quantity of food waste discharged to the environment daily, insect-based compost may be a conceivable way to transform the burden of such food waste into fertilizer for nutrient-rich soil and support sustainable organic farming,” says Dr. Le Minh Thong, International University VNU-HCM, Vietnam.
The fertilizer market has seen sharp price volatility, with prices rising up to 400% compared to pre-crisis levels in some regions. Simultaneously, global cereal output in 2022 is now forecast at 2.76 billion metric tons, 1.7% below 2021, while total coarse grain production is expected to decline by 3.3% from the previous year. With 345.2 million people projected to be food insecure in 2023, the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Global Risks Report ranked a looming food supply crisis as one of the top four threats facing the world currently.
“The fertilizer crisis arises from dependence on natural resources that are geographically restricted. Insect farming offers a solution that allows the production of high-performing fertilizers from food waste, making it possible to do so anywhere in the world. With the insect fertilizer market expected to grow at a CAGR of 24.3% by 2029, this segment is one of the most promising in terms of sales for insect farming companies. FlyFeed’s fertilizer is already fully booked by Vietnamese companies and local farming associations for 2024, and we continue to see active interest towards insect fertilizers on the market,” says Arseniy Olkhovskiy, CEO and founder of FlyFeed.
Based on application, the insect fertilizers market is divided into segments such as cereals and grains or fruits and vegetables. In 2022, the cereals and grains segment was estimated to account for the largest share of the insect fertilizers market.
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