Insect farm gives food for thought

A group of Sixth Form pupils gained insights into how science is being used to aid sustainability when they visited Entomics Biosystems.

Pupils check out the creepy crawlies that are making use of food waste
Pupils check out the creepy crawlies that are making use of food waste

15th January 2020 — The business, based at Madingley near Cambridge, was set up in 2015 by a group of students from the University of Cambridge with support from the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre’s ‘Accelerate Cambridge’ programme.

Insect farming, or “insect biomass conversion”, involves feeding waste directly to insects. The insects convert this low-value biomass into higher-valuer insect mass, rich in proteins, which can be used as a sustainable source of high-quality animal feed or “insect flour”.

The sight of trays writhing with insects may be off-putting but it is being seen as a way to mitigate the scandal of the waste of billions of pounds worth of food globally and as a way of reducing the use of expensive and environmentally unsustainable sources of protein.

The pupils learned about the company’s research activities including identifying the best species to use, the optimal rearing environment, factors affecting the selection and blending of food wastes and how the process can be turned into a sustainable production unit for use in the real world.

“There are so many ways this research could benefit humankind and it was an absolutely fascinating visit. We are very keen to develop long-term links with such important work,” said Nick Robinson, Head of Careers at The Leys, who organised the visit.

About The Leys School

The Leys is primarily a boarding school, and our emphasis is on providing a caring, friendly and secure environment for all our pupils. Each child, whether a boarder or day pupil, is attached to one of 11 houses, where study areas and comfortable accommodation are provided, along with a high standard of pastoral care and supervision from housemasters or housemistresses.


Find out more

Related stories