订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

生活

全球粮食面临危机?让这些昆虫来解决

Viviennne Walt 2018年04月06日

虽然有机饮食的发展很繁荣,但几乎没有人曾在哪个瞬间想到过动物饲料问题,这些虫子代表饲料业的未来。

把有蚯蚓的土装进箱子里,再把香蕉皮放进去,让蚯蚓进行“废物回收”。法国农业科学家安托万·休伯特10年前曾教过中小学生这样打造蚯蚓农场。休伯特说,这是一堂有趣的生态农业课。

现在,休伯特的虫子们来到了一个比以前大得多的舞台,而且有可能影响到年产值约5000亿美元的全球动物饲料行业。这次可不是在教室里养蚯蚓——休伯特的初创公司Ÿnsect(发音和英文单词insect相同)大量生产黄粉虫幼虫,然后将其制成高级蛋白来饲养禽畜和鱼类,进而为人类及其宠物提供美餐。作为Ÿnsect首席执行官兼创始人,休伯特带我参观法国东部小城多勒附近的Ÿnsect实验工厂时说:“上次出现这样的发明创造是在60年前,那时挪威人和亚洲人学会了水产养殖,而这是一条崭新的价值链。”

这幢五层的方形建筑涂成了明快的黄色和绿色,看上去并不像一个进行尖端创新的场所。

Just a decade ago, Antoine Hubert, a French agricultural scientist, was teaching schoolchildren how to create worm farms, by tossing banana peels into boxes of wormsand recycling their waste. It was, he says, an entertaining lesson in eco-farming.

Now Hubert’s worms have slithered on to a vastly bigger stage, with the potential to -impact a global industry worth about $500 billion a year: animal feed. Rather than keeping insects in classrooms, Hubert’s startup, Ÿnsect (pronounced plain old “IN-sect”), mass-¬produces mealworm larvae, then turns them into high-grade protein to feed the animals and fish that we humans and our pets eat. “The last time there was this kind of creation was when they invented fish farming in Norway and Asia, and that was 60 years ago,” says Ÿnsect’s CEO and cofounder, as he shows me around his test factory near Dole, a town in eastern France. “This is a totally new value chain.”

The boxy five-level structure, painted a cheery yellow and green, does not look like a location for cutting-edge innovation.

Ÿnsect创始人兼CEO安托万·休伯特,他手中捧着的是刚从生产线上下来的黄粉虫幼虫。 Photograph by Veronique de Viguerie

但大楼内的景象却令人吃惊,而且克服了恶心感之后还会被吸引。一摞摞塑料托盘中盛着上百万不停蠕动的虫子,这些托盘沿着一条完全由机器人控制的流水线行进。虫子按尺寸进行分拣,成熟的那些经过蒸制、去油后,最终会变成海滩上细沙一样的粉末(包括外骨骼)。35岁的休伯特拿着一小瓶这样的米黄色粉末说:“这是超高级蛋白。”他还介绍说,试验表明吃Ÿnsect产品的人工养殖鲑鱼和鳟鱼的体型会比吃普通饲料的大35%,“而且要健康得多”。

如果休伯特的想法成为现实,地球也有可能变得更健康。虽然有机饮食的发展很繁荣,但几乎没有人曾在哪个瞬间想到过动物饲料问题,也就是牛、鸡、羊、猪和鱼被端上餐桌前吃的那些东西。

统计数据让人深感担心。地球上近一半的农业用地(约60亿英亩,相当于2424万平方公里)用于种植饲料作物,这其中又有大约45%就是为了养鸡。同时,农业约占人类二氧化碳总排放量的四分之一,因此产生了巨大的气候变化成本。再来说说海洋,所有被捕捞的海鱼中,约有22%成了鱼饲料,而随着海鱼数量下降,这些鱼饲料的全球市场价格已经是2000年的五倍左右。

即使没有成为休伯特那样的科学家,大家也能意识到即将到来的危机。不断壮大的中产阶层消耗的肉类越来越多。全球人口预计将在25年内达到90-100亿左右,从而进一步挤占陆地资源。西蒙·比林是伦敦英国非政府组织未来论坛下属的蛋白质挑战小组负责人,他说:“如果不做出改变,森林面积就会减少,生物多样性也会遭到破坏。”该小组已经在和雀巢等大公司合作,目的是探索可替代蛋白质。比林指出:“用地球可以承受而且对地球有利的方式养活90亿人将是个挑战。留给我们的土地不多了。”

But the sight inside is startling and, once past the yuck factor, compelling. Towers of plastic trays containing millions of squiggling mealworms move along an assembly line, entirely controlled by robots. There, they are separated by size, and the mature ones are then steamed, their oil extracted, and their bodies (including exoskeleton) turned into a powder resembling beach sand. “This is super–high protein,” says Hubert, 35, holding a vial of the beige substance. He says tests show that farmed salmon and trout grow 35% bigger by eating Ÿnsect meal than traditional fish feed. “They are in much better health,” he claims.

If Hubert’s idea takes off, the planet might be in better health too. Despite the boom in organic eating, few of us give a passing thought to animal feed—the stuff that cows, chickens, sheep, pigs, and fish eat, before we eat them.

The statistics are deeply worrying. Nearly half the earth’s agricultural land—about 6 billion acres—is used to grow crops to feed animals; about 45% of that goes simply to feeding chickens. And since agriculture emits about 25% of total carbon dioxide, the cost in terms of climate change is significant. Then there are the oceans: About 22% of all fish caught is ground up for fish meal, whose world price has risen about 500% since 2000, as the oceans’ fish stocks decline.

You do not have to be a scientist like Hubert to spot a looming crisis. The growing middle class is eating more and more meat. And the world’s population is expected to increase to about 9 billion or 10 billion people within 25 years, further squeezing land resources. “If we do not change, we’re looking at deforestation and diversity loss,” says Simon Billing, who leads the Protein Challenge group at the London-based NGO Forum for the Future. The group has partnered with giants like Nestlé to explore alternative proteins. “It will be a challenge feeding 9 billion people in a way that is affordable and good for the planet,” Billing says. “We are running out of land.”

在法国东部小城多勒郊区的Ÿnsect工厂中,一托盘一托盘的幼虫在生产线上自动得到分拣。 Photograph by Veronique de Viguerie

昆虫是解决途径之一。休伯特相信需要几十年时间才能说服人们直接吃这些小东西。因此,他的解决之道是大量生产以昆虫为原料的动物饲料,在新西兰研究了生物多样性后他一直揣着这个梦想。

2012年,休伯特找到了饲养昆虫做鱼饵的亨利·让南,并且聘请后者来帮Ÿnsect打造产品。从那时起,这家公司已经筹集了大约4300万美元资金,其中一部分来自法国政府投资基金BPI。虽然上述实验工厂的年产量只有220吨,但休伯特计划10年内在全球建立15座工厂,年产量达到10亿吨,年收入约50亿美元。

One answer is insects. Hubert believes it will take decades to persuade people to eat the critters themselves. So, the trick is producing insect-based animal feed on a mammoth scale, an idea he dreamed up after studying biodiversity in New Zealand.

In 2012, Hubert tracked down Henri Jeannin, who farmed insects for fish bait, and hired him to help create Ÿnsect’s product. Since then, the company has raised about $43 million in financing, including from the French government’s investment fund BPI. While the test factory makes just 220 tons of worm meal a year, Hubert’s 10-year plan is to open 15 factories worldwide, with total production of 1 billion tons and revenues of around $5 billion a year.

经蒸制、去油,黄粉虫幼虫就变成了高蛋白粉末。Photograph by Veronique de Viguerie

今年晚些时候,Ÿnsect将在法国北部建立第一家正式工厂,随后它还打算在美国中西部建厂,目前已经开始寻址。该公司最大的生产基地可能会设在美国,因为美国的动物饲料行业规模巨大,而且仍高度依赖大豆和玉米。Ÿnsect驻加州圣卡洛斯董事尼古拉斯·贝纳迪说:“我们公司很快就得到美国发展。”贝纳迪还在La Boulangerie面包店和面包制作及经销商Shaw Bakers担任CEO,他说Ÿnsect相对于传统农业有一项关键优势,那就是它能用相对狭小的空间生产高等级产品,这和动物饲料行业依赖的大规模大豆和玉米农场形成了鲜明对比。

谈到多勒的工厂,贝纳迪说:“我在其他地方从没见过这么省事的工厂。”也许,它就像孩子们把香蕉皮扔进蚯蚓箱那么方便。(龙8国际|官网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

Later this year, Ÿnsect will open its first full-scale factory in northern France, and it has begun scouting for a Midwest U.S. location for a factory it plans to open after that; Ÿnsect’s biggest production could ultimately be in the U.S., whose giant animal-feed industry still depends heavily on soy and maize crops. “Very quickly the company will have to go to the U.S.,” says Nicolas Bernadi, an Ÿnsect board member based in San Carlos, Calif. Bernadi, who is CEO of La Boulangerie cafés and Shaw ¬Bakers, says Ÿnsect has one key advantage over traditional agricultural businesses: It can produce high-grade products in relatively tiny spaces—a stark contrast to the vast soy and maize farms on which the animal-feed industry depends.

“I have never seen a factory that is that efficient anywhere,” Bernadi says of the Dole factory. As efficient, perhaps, as children tossing banana peels into boxes of worms. 

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏