Mr Bug and Bristol Robotics Laboratory Collaborate to Revolutionize Mealworm Breeding
Mr Bug, a leading insect protein company, and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), part of the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) have joined forces in an exciting collaboration aimed at transforming mealworm breeding. This ground breaking project seeks to leverage state-of-the-art technologies, such as sensors and automation, to optimise farming potential and create a sustainable protein source for the future. The project is funded by Defra on the Farming Futures R&D: Sustainable Farm-based protein, Feasibility & Industrial research programme and managed by Innovate UK
The collaboration between Mr Bug and the BRL aims to develop cutting-edge automation techniques for breeding and rearing mealworms. By utilising Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, the project will establish suitable controls to achieve maximum yield.
One of the key focuses of this collaboration is the utilisation of a sophisticated monitoring system and automation to ultimately minimise human physical involvement and maximizing efficiency. The aim is to establish best practices that can be replicated in other facilities, whether small-scale private farms or large industrial complexes.
“Insect protein is a fast-growing market that aligns with sustainability goals and commitments to carbon neutrality. It has also been proven to be highly digestible across a range of species. By collaborating with the British Robotics Laboratory, we aim to create a state-of-the-art insect breeding and processing facility that optimises breeding processes and contributes to a more sustainable food system”
said Conal Cunningham at Mr Bug.
Insect-based pet foods are already gaining traction in the market, and with upcoming changes in legislation, this trend is expected to expand into poultry and animal feed, eventually reaching the human food chain. Current estimates project a growth from the current annual production of 10,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes by 2030.
Currently, the UK has limited insect breeding facilities, none of which are equipped with the necessary technologies or scale to compete on a global level. However, concerns for the environment and the urgent need for sustainable solutions have provided fresh impetus for innovation to address national and global needs.
Mr Bug aims to create a state-of-the-art insect breeding and processing facility by leveraging expertise, automation, and the Internet of Things to optimise breeding and processing methods. The data collected throughout this project will pave the way for designing scalable processes. With the increasing demand for alternative protein sources, these scalable solutions will play a crucial role in meeting future food needs while mitigating environmental impact.
Professor Mark Hansen, Associate Professor in Knowledge Exchange and External Engagement at UWE Bristol, commented:
“The Centre for Machine Vision, part of the BRL, is excited to partner with MrBug and apply our innovative techniques and know-how to the fascinating new domain of mealworm farming, with the aim of improving yields and increasing the welfare of the insects through AI and vision. We believe this funding will help put the UK at the forefront of this increasingly important area of farming.”
About Mr Bug
Mr Bug is a renowned insect protein company dedicated to revolutionising the food industry through sustainable protein sources. With a commitment to quality and innovation, Mr Bug aims to provide a future-proof solution that addresses the global demand for protein while minimising environmental impact.
About the BRL
The BRL is at the forefront of cutting-edge robotics research and development. With a focus on advancing automation and robotics technologies, the laboratory strives to create innovative solutions that have a positive impact on various industries.
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