Protein Supercluster Invests To Support Whole Seed Utilization
Project takes co-products from processing to create delivery agent for micronutrients
Vancouver, B.C – Today, Protein Industries Canada announced their fifth approved project; and the first to bring together a company largely considered a founder of Canada’s plant protein industry with an emerging company to create new usages from the co-products of processing.
The project will see $3 million - $1.3 million from Protein Industries Canada and $1.7 million from the consortium - invested to create a novel approach to improving the value of fibrous co-products from the pulse processing industry by transforming them into an organic micronutrient fertilizer.
The consortium consists of Lucent BioSciences from Vancouver and AGT Foods and Ingredients from Regina. Lucent will use the hulls of pea and lentil seeds which are a co-product from value-added processing completed by AGT Foods and Ingredients. Using their propriety process, Lucent will convert the hulls into Soileos: a novel carbon-neutral micronutrient fertilizer that uses organic fibre as a carrier to provide micronutrients to plants.
The delivery of micronutrients increases yield and nutrient density in crops, in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. This project takes what has historically been considered a waste stream from processing and adds further value, utilizing the entire seed.
“The Protein Industries Canada 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. This 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 by-products that were once considered waste, we’re diversifying the agricultural sector and creating more jobs for Canadians,” Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry The Honourable Navdeep Bains said.
“Canada is home to innovative entrepreneurs who are creating clean solutions to protect the environment and grow the economy. This 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,” Minister of Environment and Climate Change The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson said.
The project is a prime example of collaboration, and what is possible when two companies from seemingly different points of the value-chain come together to create a new opportunity. The two companies met at an agri-value investment forum, presented by Economic Development Regina in March 2019 in Regina, SK, in which Protein Industries Canada participated. Up until that point, Lucent had been focusing on using rice and oat hulls as their delivery agent. A conversation between the two companies led to pilots using pea and lentil hulls.
“From the very beginning we have said that being part of the Supercluster would require companies to do business differently,” CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel said. “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.”
Micronutrient deficiency, such as Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, and Boron can result in sub-optimal crop growth, yield and nutritional quality. This deficiency impacts billions of people worldwide and is especially problematic in alkaline soils. Current micronutrient fertilizers have several limitations. They are not effective in alkaline soils, in addition to being expensive and hard to use. This project will enable Lucent BioSciences to produce pilot scale quantities of Soileos micronutrient fertilizer as a granular fertilizer and as seed coating using lentil and pea fiber supplied by AGT Foods and Ingredients. The product will be tested at more than 20 farms across Canada this spring.
“Bringing an innovative sustainable technology to market is a challenge. The Protein Industries Canada investment allows us to accelerate R&D and engineering, while the collaboration with AGT opens up large scale end-user testing and market access with a key industry player," CEO of Lucent BioSciences Michael Riedijk said. "The commitment from AGT and Protein Industries Canada also provides credibility to our company and technology, which helped tremendously with raising funds from investors."
“Adding value to all our fractions is the key to success of our protein business. 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,” President and CEO of AGT Food and Ingredients Murad Al-Katib said.
Protein Industries Canada and industry has invested more than $70 million through five projects into Canada’s plant protein ecosystem. The utilization of all three parts of the seed – protein, oil and fibre – is a priority for Protein Industries Canada.
For more information:
Protein Industries Canada
About Lucent BioSciences
Lucent Biosciences, Inc. is on a mission to address climate impact on global food security and nutrition by developing solutions that regenerate the land while capturing carbon to reverse climate change. Soileos, their first sustainable smart fertilizer for agriculture, was developed as a response to the global environmental crisis of soil degradation and malnutrition. For more information go to https://www.soileos.com
AGT Food and Ingredients Inc. (AGT) is a processor of value-added pulses, staple foods and ingredients for export and domestic markets as well as a supplier of retail packaged and canned foods to retail and food service sectors. Through its offices and processing facilities located in some of the best agricultural growing regions in Canada, the U.S., Turkey, China, Australia and South Africa, merchandising and sales offices in the U.K., the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and India and origination offices in Russia, AGT produces a full range of pulses and specialty crops including lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans and canary seed as well as food ingredients such as pulse flours, proteins, starches and fibres. Through its subsidiaries in Turkey, the Arbel Group, AGT also produces staple foods such as Arbella Pasta, rice, and milled wheat products, including bulgur and semolina.