March 5, 2020, Vancouver, B.C. – A new project supported by the Protein Industries Supercluster has been announced to help Canadian organic growers and processors by developing a new use for byproducts from the pulse processing industry.
Through the project, products that were once considered waste will be turned into fertilizer to deliver nutrients to plants. The collaborative project will take Lucent BioSciences’ proprietary technology for micronutrient fertilizers to the manufacturing stage with partners AGT Food and Ingredients and 4D Labs, a research facility at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby.
The federal government is investing $1.3 million into the project through the Innovation Superclusters Initiative and $1.7 million will come from contributions from industry and academia.
Project partners Lucent and AGT met at a supercluster-supported agriculture event a year ago in Regina, Sask. Lucent pitched at the event, where Murad Al-Katib, CEO of AGT Food, was a judge. Al-Katib is one of the founders of the Canadian plant protein industry and, as current chair of the Agri-Food Economic Strategy Table, is part of a collaboration between industry and government focused on turning Canadian economic strengths into global advantages.
“Adding value to all our fractions is the key to success of our protein business,” Al-Katib stated in a press release. “The fibre and starch values will be critical to viability of the protein extraction business. Novel uses for fibre, like the ones in this project, have huge international application for large volumes of pulse fibres and flours.
“We are excited to partner with an SME, Lucent, to bring our strengths together in commercializing these products in territories where AGT has farmer reach and distribution.”
Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains said the project is a great example of how superclusters are bringing about new connections and opening avenues for collaboration between small and medium-sized enterprises, larger companies, and academia.
“The project takes an SME-developed technology to the next level by putting it to the test in fields across western Canada. By helping Canadian processors find new uses for byproducts that were once considered waste, we’re diversifying the agricultural sector and creating more jobs for Canadians.”
Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the supercluster project has the potential to not only make farming more eco-friendly but also improve the quality of food that farmers grow.
“My congratulations to Lucent BioSciences, AGT Foods and Simon Fraser University. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of this pilot.”
Bill Greuel, CEO, Protein Industries Canada, said that, “From the very beginning, we have said that being part of the supercluster would require companies to do business differently. This project is the perfect example of what can happen when two companies bring their collective strengths to collaborate and create new opportunity.
“We are proud that we had a small part to play in these two companies meeting each other and coming together for this project.”
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