Spain’s Remarkable Achievement: World’s Largest Insect Protein Plant

mealworm larvae crawling all over.

Salamanca, Spain, proudly hosts the globe’s largest insect protein production facility, powered by groundbreaking proprietary technology.

The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed

In previous blog posts, we’ve explored the intriguing realm of insects and their potential as a protein source, delving into topics like feed formulation, animal welfare, and more. Today, we’re excited to share the remarkable news from Salamanca, Spain, where Tebrio, a pioneering company, is setting up the world’s largest insect protein plant. Tebrio specializes in manufacturing insect-based protein and various products derived from Tenebrio molitor, commonly known as mealworms.

Tebrio’s ambitious project entails the construction of a sprawling 90,000-square-meter plant in Salamanca, set to employ 250 individuals and produce a staggering 100,000 metric tons (MT) of Tenebrio molitor protein annually. The initial phase of this remarkable endeavor is scheduled for completion by 2024. Impressively, Tebrio commenced operations in 2017, which means that in just seven years, it will ascend to the status of the world’s leading producer. Furthermore, this state-of-the-art plant will operate entirely on solar energy.

The production process involves the industrial-scale cultivation of these insects and the conversion of both the insects themselves and their waste into essential raw materials such as proteins and fats for animal nutrition, as well as biofertilizers for agricultural purposes. Notably, this process incorporates a unique and patented insect breeding technique. The overarching objective is to create more sustainable animal feeds, specifically tailored for poultry, swine, and aquatic species.

From the larvae, Tebrio extracts proteins and oils, while the insect waste yields valuable biofertilizers for agricultural and soil regeneration purposes. Additionally, the insect shells or exoskeletons are utilized to produce chitin, from which chitosan (deacetylated chitin) is derived. Chitosan finds application in cosmetics, bioplastics, and various other industries.

Adriana Casillas, the CEO of Tebrio, also serves as the president of the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), a body committed to advocating for these products within the European Union (EU). Notably, IPIFF played a pivotal role in securing the European Food Safety Agency’s (EFSA) endorsement of insects as safe for human consumption. IPIFF’s regulatory efforts aim to create markets for nutritious, appealing, and safe products for animal feed.

The sustainability aspects of this venture are striking, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, minimal water usage per kilogram of protein produced, and limited land requirements. Additionally, insect-based protein boasts a nutrient profile, particularly in terms of amino acids, that can rival or even surpass that of traditional fish meal products.

In an interview, Casillas expressed Tebrio’s eagerness to collaborate with Latin America, opening doors for further innovative projects.

In conclusion, we extend our congratulations to Tebrio for spearheading the establishment of the world’s largest insect protein production facility. This remarkable achievement underscores the potential of insects as a sustainable protein source and paves the way for a brighter and more environmentally friendly future. What are your thoughts on this groundbreaking development?


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