Naturol UK has filed a patent to protect its new technology for separating oils from oil seeds, particularly soybean, canola, sunflower, and cotton seeds.
The Naturol technology is claimed to increase the quality of the proteins, and also improve protein yield from the seeds.
"This technology has the capability of increasing the current value of canola meal by up to $40 a ton," said Paul McClory, president and chief executive officer of Naturol.
The company cited a report by the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission which suggests that every two per cent increase in protein over 34 per cent, the typical canola meal protein content, is worth at least $16 per ton.
According to Agriculture Canada, global canola meal production is in excess of 21 million tons per annum. World protein consumption for 2001-2002 is forecast at approximately 182 million tons with soy meal production comprising 114 million tons.
The new solvent-based technology has been designed to produce a higher quality protein isolate at a lower cost. It could allow companies to develop new compositions of oils and protein isolates for food and nutraceutical products. The technology is also said to be more economical than conventional, hexane-based, oil seed processing plants, and will be safer, easier to use and, unlike hexane, emission free, said the company.
The new technology removes virtually all oils and fats from oil seeds and because the extraction process is conducted at around room temperature, the heat degradation of the oils and protein which occurs with hexane is virtually eliminated.
Naturol claims that it in trials carried out with canola seed, using its patent application process, the soluble protein yield almost doubled that of hexane-extracted canola meal and the yield of high molecular weight protein was significantly increased.
The new technology should also improve the yields and quality of soy protein isolate, said the company.
The Naturol technology should also eliminate the loss of a number of valuable components, which naturally occur in soybean, such as antioxidants and vitamin E. Currently, these compounds are significantly reduced in conventionally extracted soy meal, during removal of the residual hexane (a gasoline-like solvent).
"When compared with protein recovered from oil seeds by currently available processes, the protein isolate produced by the Naturol technology is so significantly different in molecular weight distribution and available (soluble) protein, it is believed that worldwide patent protection will be obtained covering these new compositions," said Dr Michael J. Ram, Naturol board member and patent counsel.
Naturol, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coronado, has been granted the exclusive North American licence by Naturol UK to develop and commercialise all the Naturol technologies.