By Kristy Dorsey

AgriTech investment specialist Roslin Technologies, which is in the midst of a £50 million fundraising, has announced a tie-up to promote the use of insects as a source of animal feed and fertiliser.

The Scottish firm has invested an undisclosed sum in Protenga, a company based in Singapore that farms black soldier flies. Dubbed by some as the “superstars of sustainability”, the larvae of these insects are edible and rich in nutrients.

Roslin Technologies is co-investing alongside SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore. As part of the deal, Roslin will build a £500,000 “nucleus facility” near its headquarters in Midlothian where it will focus on applying enhanced breeding technologies to develop improved insect lines.

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Set up in 2016 in the Midlothian Science Zone as one of Europe’s largest AgriTech start-ups, Roslin Technologies works closely with the Roslin Institute, the creators of Dolly the Sheep. It now invests both its cash and expertise in partnerships around the world, with a focus on sustainable businesses in protein production technology.

Glen Illing, chief executive of Roslin Technologies, said the agreement with Protenga marks “the start of our journey into the insect protein and nutrition market”.

“Protenga has the right technologies, capabilities and culture to succeed in providing new sustainable production and waste bioconversion practices using black soldier fly,” he said.

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“We are also excited about applying enhanced breeding technologies to develop improved insect lines from a new genetic nucleus facility to be built soon near Edinburgh. Protenga is at the cutting edge of sustainable protein production and is the next important building block in out portfolio of AgriTech ventures.”

Growing insects uses less water, space, energy and time than growing other food sources. In addition, Protenga’s production line also generates organic material for fertiliser through a process similar to composting.

The £50m fundraising was announced earlier this month and is being led by Milltrust International and JBI Equity, two of the world’s leading AgriTech advisors and founding investors in Roslin.