Burcon pulls off canola protein improvements

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Burcon, Protein

Burcon NutraScience Corporation has announced that it has
successfully modified its canola protein extraction process to make
its Puratein and Supertein ingredients suitable for a broader range
of food and beverages.

President and COO Johann Tergesen told NutraIngredients-USA.com in January that the company and its collaborator Archer Daniel Midland (ADM) were researching ways to improve the flavor and color of the ingredients, which he hoped might make them more appealing not only to manufacturers of vegetarian and health foods but also to mainstream companies such as Unilever, Kraft and Nestlé. "We are looking to sell very large quantities on a global basis," said Tergesen. Burcon and ADM signed a development agreement to bring the canola proteins to market in September 2003, but the decision to hold off from submitting samples for regulatory testing was taken last September, pending refinements to process. The upshot of the last year's work is that Burcon has been able to file additional patent applications. "We are once again in a position to press forward on the regulatory recognition process for Puratein and Supertein," Tergesen said in a statement last week. To do this, Burcon and ADM are working to produce sufficient quantities to carry out further applications work and studies which will enable them to gain GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status from the FDA. It also remains to scale-up the process, and although the regulatory testing is being reinitiated, R&D is far from over. Work is continuing on improving and optimizing the process. It was originally expected that the ingredients would be available on the market by mid-2006, but last year the release date was pushed back to the first quarter of 2007. But last week's announcement came with a warning that the end result is not yet secure. "No assurance can be given that Burcon and ADM's research and development activities will be successful, that large pilot-sale production tests will result in suitable products, or that regulatory recognition of Burcon's proteins will ever be achieved," said the company. The road thus far has certainly been long: Burcon bought the technology in 1999 from BMW Canola, which had already been working on it since 1990. Canola is the world's second largest oilseed crop after soybeans. It possesses a high level of protein purity without prohibitive fat levels and an amino acid content comparable to animal proteins and superior to that of soy proteins. Its high protein efficiency ratio - the measure of a growing animal's total weight gain versus the weight of protein consumed during the growing period - is, according to Burcon, more than double that of soy. Both proteins are suitable for use in protein bars and beverages, but Supertein boasts very high solubility in neutral and acidic environments, making it ideal for use in products like cookies and muffins, donuts and meringues. Puratein has the ability to emulsify and projected uses include vegetable burgers, battered fried goods, mayonnaise, glazes and gels. External links to companies or organisations mentioned in thisstory: Burcon Archer Daniel Midland

Related topics: Proteins, peptides, amino acids

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