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Insect rearing

The Centre of expertise for Sustainable Biomass and Chemistry focusses on the optimisation of insect production and investigates the potential of insects as sustainable source of biomass for a variety of applications.

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Sustainable source of biomass

Insects can efficiently convert low-value biomass into valuable components such as proteins, fats and chitin. These compounds can be used in high-value applications such as food, feed and bio-based chemicals. Our researchers investigate the potential of insects as an alternative, sustainable source of biomass.

Together towards optimal insect production

In our research facility, we focus on optimizing insect production. Following topics fall under our expertise:

  • Insect breeding and genetics
  • The optimisation of breeding conditions of different insect species
  • The valorisation of organic by-products from agriculture and industry
  • The development of pilot-scale production systems
  • The quality and safety during insect breeding

A continuous colony of four insect species

Furthermore, we have the knowledge and experience to maintain a continuous colony of four insect species, namely black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens), yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor), house cricket (Acheta domesticus) and migratory locust (Locusta migratoria). Click below for more information on a specific insect species.


In the context of breeding optimization, we also engage in data modeling. This allows us to presently forecast the growth parameters of black soldier fly larvae when exposed to experimental feeds, enabling us to define the most suitable substrate blends.

Our insects are reared in a professional environment, namely in the Insect Pilot Plant at our campus in Geel. The Insect Pilot Plant not only makes it possible to conduct research on a laboratory scale, but also on a realistic pilot scale. This facility is equipped with:

  • three climate chambers
  • separate laboratories
  • harvest room
  • feed preparation area
  • storage space
  • process room
  • professional production, processing and monitoring equipment
Click here for a virtual tour!

Projects on insects 

Introduction to our research on insects