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Growing demand for BSFL-derived Chitin and chitosan to drive its consumption in major industries

   April 15, 2021

Chitin and chitosan are another set of major products that can be derived from the BSFL. They can be derived from exuviae of insects and find applications in a wide range of markets, such as agriculture, medical, phytosanitary, textile, and industrial products. For example, according to IntechOpen, raw Chitin represents an interesting nitrogen and carbon source for agricultural valorization. It helps to produce wheat yields significantly higher than those fertilized with chemical fertilizers. Thus, raw Chitin is more effective than chemical fertilizer. This may help to grow the demand for raw Chitin from the agriculture industry in the future.

In addition, the research cooperation, ChitoTex, is developing a procedure to utilize the black soldier fly as a sustainable source for Chitin, which can be used to coat textile fibers. According to the ChitoTex, further modification in the Chitin will make textile water and stain repellent after the treatment, replacing common coating practice. Thus, growing researches and modification in the Chitin will help to spur its use in various applications. Furthermore, the procedure of isolating and processing Chitin from insects would enable a new and sustainable source of Chitin and replace the expensive import of shrimp shells with a biological resource that can be bred locally. Like crab-shell analog, the insect-chitin could also be useful for biomedical applications or the agriculture industry as a plant or fertilizer-ad.

However, the amount and the quality of Chitin achieved from the BSF frass is very low for using it in the domains mentioned above for high-end applications. The acceptance of BSF-derived Chitin is lower, making it one of the major reasons for reduced interest in this space from major market players. In addition, high-quality BSF chitin can only be extracted from complete, unprocessed whole dried larvae. Thus, manufacturers have to compromise on producing protein meals to produce the high-quality Chitin that can be used for high-end applications in various industries.

Though there are limited market opportunities, some BSFL market players are disrupting the chitin and chitosan industry. For instance, in December 2018, South African-based AgriProtein Holding acquired Millibeter NV, a Belgian insect-based ingredients company. Millibeter developed a technology to separate the Chitin from proteins and fats and convert it into the various forms of chitosan in a sustainable way. However, in 2019, SFly, France, remained the only noticeable manufacturer and supplier of BSFL-based chitosan for high-end industrial applications. According to SFly, this material's worldwide demand is rapidly growing as new applications are being discovered.

Furthermore, chitosan has also drawn broad attention to worldwide research projects. It can be used in industrial and biomedical applications ranging from drug delivery and cosmetics to textile and agriculture. With this, it has a high potential for use in water purification and wastewater treatment. Chitosan acts as a coagulant for both organic and inorganic matters present in water. It is also a very good chelating agent for heavy metals present in industrial waters due to its full biodegradability and non-toxic and natural origin.

Thus, the growing demand for Chitin and chitosan in the water treatment and water purification, agriculture, textile, and pharmaceutical sectors may impact the growth of the BSF-derived chitin and chitosan market.

Meticulous Research®, in its latest publication on Black Soldier Fly Market states that the Black Soldier Fly Market is expected to reach $3.4 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 34.7% during the forecast period of 2020 to 2030

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