Photo/IllutrationMitsutaka Kushima, representative of Musca Inc., shows how housefly larvae decompose livestock excrement at Musca’s research facility in Tsuno, Miyazaki Prefecture. (Taiki Koide)

MIYAZAKI--An entrepreneur hopes the global agriculture industry will become like flies to manure for his new system, which uses maggots to decompose livestock excrement and rapidly turn it into fertilizer.

While it takes somewhere between three months and a year to decompose feces with the conventional method of fermentation by microorganisms, Musca Inc.’s system has reduced that time requirement to about a week.

Mitsutaka Kushima, the company’s 41-year-old representative, said his method is simple.

“It allows you to produce both eco-friendly fertilizer and high-quality feed at the same time if only you have access to organic matter,” he said. “That has a potential for becoming a savior of agriculture if it were to spread in impoverished parts of the world.”

His Fukuoka-based start-up uses houseflies, which inhabit broad areas of the globe. The corporate name was taken from Musca domestica, the scientific name for the species.

Kushima said planting 300 grams of housefly eggs, worth 5 million individuals of the insect, on 1 ton of manure leads to some 300 kilograms of fertilizer and about 100 kg of larvae being harvested in one week.

The larvae are then dried into feed for farmed fish and chickens.

Kushima said what he is doing is “a matter of course” in the realm of nature, but he faced a need to raise huge numbers of parent flies to have them lay eggs so his enterprise would be commercially viable.

The flies stopped laying eggs, or even died, when they were kept in stressful, overcrowded conditions.

Kushima has been working on breeding flies since he was at an environmental technologies development firm, a predecessor of Musca. About 45 years of continued improvement across 1,100 generations has produced a strain of flies that can withstand overcrowded breeding.

Musca, which has a research facility in Miyazaki Prefecture, has worked with Ehime University to find out the workings of the fertilizer and with the University of Miyazaki on the feed.

Kushima said the studies showed that plants grew better on Musca’s fertilizer and fish also grew better on Musca’s feed.

The company plans to release its products for sale to agrarian farmers, fish farmers and chicken farmers in the near future. It also has plans for building a plant, by the end of this fiscal year, with a capacity to accept about 100 tons of manure daily.