The subject that we are discussing today will seem gross. A Bengaluru-based start-up called Loopworm, which was started by two IIT Roorkee graduates, is working to bring food waste back into the food cycle using biotechnology.

Loopworm’s mission is to solve the global protein deficiency and waste generation. The start-up is involved in protein farming, but not pulses, dairy or meat. It farms an insect called the black soldier fly, whose larvae can become a high source of protein for commercially farmed fish, shrimp, poultry and even pets.

Currently, the feed for poultry and fish consists of fish meal which is usually made from vast quantities of catch from the oceans. It’s a depleting and increasingly expensive source. Loopworm says farmed insects are the most sustainable and eco-friendly way to feed the animals we eat

The black soldier fly is a sleek-looking fly that many confuse with a wasp. It is not a pest and can be put to use by humans. They play a similar role to redworms as valuable decomposers in breaking down organic matter and returning nutrients to the soil. They can break down the bacteria in their food.

TR Vivek is in conversation with Ankit Bagaria on this curious, and, somewhat smelly business.