Chiang Mai University is developing an oil extracted from black soldier flies to create cosmetic enhancements, to promote communal career advancement, and extend the industrial business.

28 December 2020

Corporate Communication and Alumni Relations Center (CCARC)

Currently the export market and the business sector are very interested creating products form insects such as food or extracts. It is likely that the interest in the protein from these insects will grow rapidly and potentially expand into large industries in the future. Therefore, Chiang Mai University is conducting research on the commercialization of black soldier flies, innovating them as dietary and beauty products under the Spearhead program. This is done in accordance with the economic guidelines of the Office of Science Policy, the National Science Technology and Innovation (STI). The goal is to create a large-scale research and an innovative program with a high economic value and supporting the development of an entrepreneurial university.

Innovated and integrated cosmetic product projects from black soldier flies cover many fields of work from various faculties in Chiang Mai University. For example, work is being done in the field of embryo implantation, in collaboration with the Faculty of Agriculture and the Faculty of Science. The research tackles questions such as how cultures should be raised, what is a good environment, because culturing insects in the right temperature and relative humidity will make the insects grow well. Also, this experiment whitens the larvae, making the oil clear in quality and reducing odor until the stage of the drying process and oil extraction. These processes are completed in partnership with the Faculty of Agro-Industry and the Faculty of Science. According to this research, the oil extraction with the help from insects increases oil quality from 4% to about 6.5%, improving the odor and color. The objective is to use oil extracts as an important substance in cosmetics, conducting research with the Faculty of Pharmacy and the Faculty of Medicine to make 11 cosmetic recipes. Research shows that black soldier flies have good permeability properties, prevents acne, reduce wrinkles and freckles, as seen during the biological activity test and effectiveness test by a dermatologist. The project has sent the oil to be tested for toxicity or allergies in a lab that meets the OECD GLP quality control system standards and safety testing in South Korea. This includes working with the university's laboratory animal center.

The research project takes into account future growth for when a more circular economy occurs and it is important to transfer technology to the community. For this reason, the project has a model house with a quality control system, staff development in the Agricultural Sector to increase the capacity, and versatility. Ultimately, this promotes the quality of life for farmers and build’s a regional economy that expands into the industrial sector.