Researching sunflower processing to increase availability of sustainable, non-allergenic ingredients in Canada


Make; Sell

March 2022 to March 2023
Fund I: Complete

Consortia Contribution

Cluster Contribution


Burcon Nutrascience Corporation

Pristine Gourmet (Persall Fine Foods Co.)


To add substantial value to the sunflower value chain through a new protein extraction technology to produce 90% sunflower protein isolate from the cold-pressed sunflower feed currently used for animal feed.

Project Summary

Burcon NutraScience and Pristine Gourmet worked together on the next step in leveraging Canada's supply of sunflower seeds, while trying to determine how best to extract as much protein as possible from the crop, creating a new high-quality, sustainable protein derived from Canadian-grown and -processed sunflowers. Through this project's research, the partners confirmed the viability and scalability of the technology, providing an important step towards commercialization.

By finding new processing methods, Burcon and Pristine Gourmet helped to increase the value and uses of the crop. At the same time, this step into a new market enabled both companies to grow their operations, expanding their market footprint and making industry connections necessary to create new jobs in Canada and strengthen both our food supply chain and economy through the opening of new market opportunities.

Results and Impact

  • Burcon has developed a robust process to produce a high purity sunflower protein isolate, starting from cold press meal coming from dehulled kernels, as raw material. Burcon intends to continue its efforts towards validation and commercialization of these products, and is in the early planning stages to build or retrofit a medium scale commercial plant to produce sunflower protein isolate and concentrate. This project helped Burcon to gain new knowledge not only related to technology development, but also related to marketability and commercialization of new protein ingredients.
  • The optimal fiber separation part of the project was not entirely achieved. Progress was made using the meal provided by Persall, although it was found that it still contained too much fiber to allow for satisfactory protein extraction.
  • Persall’s participation in the project helped to identify the limitations of proximity density separation, identify the growth still required and secured relationships within the plant-based protein and ingredient ecosystem.
  • During the course of the project a new and potentially more robust, practical and economical extraction scheme was developed using the original process as a base.