Insectta enters next phase of expansion with production of Black Soldier Fly-derived Chitosan

Insectta, Singapore’s first Black Soldier Fly biotech company, announced its move into their next stage of expansion with the successful industrial production of chitosan extracted from black soldier flies. This development paves the way for chitosan – a polymer used in a wide range of industries and derived from black soldier flies – to be the next sustainable, circular source of this valuable biomaterial.

Operating out of their farm in Jalan Penjara and incubator office of Trendlines Agrifood Innovation Centre (AFIC) in Singapore, Insectta develops high-value, insect-derived biomaterials for the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and consumer goods industries. By harnessing the nutrient converting abilities of the black soldier fly to transform organic matter into valuable resources, Insectta builds on the circular economy within the food and insect farming industry.

Insectta’s chitosan extraction process from black soldier flies yields a purer, higher quality product (Photo: Insectta)

Chitosan is a valuable material known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, antioxidant and biocompatible properties. The global chitosan market is valued at USD 7 billion and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 25% between 2020 and 2030.

In addition to developing a new source of sustainable chitosan for the industry, Insectta’s proprietary extraction process also results in a purer, cleaner, and higher-grade chitosan as compared to traditional sources. With less heavy metal contamination, and better molecular properties, the extraction process yields chitosan with characteristics ideal for pharmaceutical or cosmetics grade chitosan.

The R&D team, led by Chief Technology Officer, Phua Jun Wei, is further refining the extraction process to yield multiple other high-value biomaterials besides chitosan. In conjunction with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Phua leads a team of organic chemists, researchers, and insect farming experts who form the core research team.

Phua said: “We are excited by the possibilities our black soldier fly chitosan opens up. Beyond an ecological solution, our novel biomaterial extraction method will drastically increase the monetary value of black soldier flies through yielding multiple valuable biomaterials from a single process.”

Anton Wibowo, CEO of Trendlines AFIC, which made a seed investment into Insectta via Trendlines Agrifood Fund, added: “Despite the uncertainty due to COVID-19, Insectta is making great progress in its technology development and is on track with its technology development roadmap. This industrial production of chitosan is a significant step towards user’s validation.”

Several organisations have expressed interest in the antimicrobial properties and purity of Insectta’s black soldier fly chitosan.