ADM exit does not mean there is no demand for canola protein, insists Burcon

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Tergesen: 'Burcon continues to work with food and beverage manufacturers to establish the value of Burcon's canola proteins in their products'
Tergesen: 'Burcon continues to work with food and beverage manufacturers to establish the value of Burcon's canola proteins in their products'

Related tags: Pea protein, Amino acid, Nutrition, Essential amino acid, Burcon

Canadian plant protein specialist Burcon NutraScience says it remains confident of finding a new partner to commercialize its canola proteins after it emerged that ADM will not now be taking the proteins to market – after eight years of talks.

Burcon – which looks poised for success with its ‘invisible’ pea and soy protein technology – has not however been able to convince a partner to make its canola proteins, and expects its license and development agreement with ADM to terminate tomorrow.

President Johann Tergesen said: “Burcon does not anticipate the two parties will reach a new agreement before that date and therefore expects the agreement will terminate on March 1, 2012. As such, Burcon will be free to choose alternative paths for the commercialization of its technology for the production of its canola proteins: Puratein, Supertein and Nutratein.”

‘Burcon continues to work with food and beverage manufacturers’ on canola proteins

He added: “Our announcement that the canola license and development agreement will terminate on March 1 does not change our opinion of the potential of our canola protein technologies.

"We believe our soy and pea protein technologies benefit from a quicker path to commercialization through the existing global soy and pea protein markets. Nevertheless, we will continue to pursue commercialization of our canola proteins...

"In the case of Puratein and Supertein, Burcon continues to work with food and beverage manufacturers to establish the value of Burcon's proteins in their products and within the last quarter has executed material transfer agreements with certain major companies.

"In the case of Nutratein, Burcon is pursuing an animal nutrition application with a leading animal feed company with the intention to use Nutratein to replace or partially replace dairy protein in certain high-value animal feed applications.

"Our unchanging goal is to commercialize all of our novel protein technologies and that includes our canola proteins.”

Peazazz ‘invisible’ pea protein talks at advanced stage; Clarisoy soy protein poised for commercial launch

However, things are progressing nicely on the pea protein front, with Burcon now in exclusive talks with a potential partner to commercialize its novel pea protein isolate ‘Peazazz’.

Discussions have “progressed to an advanced stage with Burcon agreeing to a period of exclusivity while the two parties continue their due diligence investigations and negotiations with the goal of forming an alliance”,​ said Tergesen.

“We are pleased with the market interest that Peazazz has generated and we are now making it a top commercialization priority."

The announcement came shortly after this publication revealed ​that ADM would be launching commercial quantities of ‘invisible’ soy protein Clarisoy – also developed Burcon - this summer.

Peazazz is non-allergenic, non-GM, 100% soluble and transparent in low pH solutions with clean flavor characteristics. It is also heat stable, enabling it to be used in hot fill beverage applications, said the firm.

“Pea protein is a relatively new, vegetable-based, functional protein ingredient valued for its emulsifying properties. Pea proteins currently available in the market are sold for use in a variety of food products including: snacks and cereals; diet products (high protein foods); gluten-free and vegetarian and vegan foods.”

Business model

Burcon has filed patent applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office to protect the production process for Peazazz, along with the product itself and its functional and nutritional applications in consumer products.

While rival BioExx manufactures its own canola proteins, Burcon has always sought partners to manufacture and sell proteins extracted using its technology, Tergesen told NutraIngredients-USA last year.

“We are a technology company. We don’t have the production expertise or the experience in selling, marketing and distributing food ingredients.”

Pea protein potential

While pea protein is not new – French ingredients giant Roquette and Manitoba-based pea ingredients specialist Nutri-Pea have been selling pea proteins for some years – it is not as well-established as soy protein.

However, the fact that pulses are non-allergenic, non-GM and ‘greener’ than soy beans given their ability to lock in nitrogen from the air, has started to attract the interest of buyers looking for alternative sources of protein.

Meanwhile, the amino acid profile of pea protein is well balanced, high in lysine and low in sulphur amino acids.

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