Category Archives: biotechnology

High value pharming: Is the future of farming measured in components?

WheatStarch03-1000x20 (1) - web
By Lyndsey Smith for AgInnovation Ontario

Ottawa – When you get right down to it, farmers don’t raise grain or meat. Really, they produce three things: protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

As luck would have it, humans need those things, in varying quantities, for nutrition.

If we look more closely at one of those three things — protein — we discover that this particular component is so much more than a steak or part of a grain.

Proteins are actually amazing things — they can be enzymes, health promotants, and even medicine. Insulin is protein. Lactoferrin is protein. Humans need protein not just as nutrition in the form of hydrolyzed amino acids, but also for health as protein therapeutics. Continue reading

Using good bacteria to grow more crops

Chlorophyll extracted from soybean leaves – tubes right show inoculated plants - web

Chlorophyll extracted from soybean leaves – tubes on the right show inoculated plants

By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough – Researchers at Trent University have discovered beneficial plant bacteria that could be used to produce more field crops like soybeans without having to farm additional land.

These bacteria, Methylobacterium , which already occur naturally in soybeans, produce plant hormones called cytokinins that promote the growth of both the plant itself and its seeds.

Now, work by Dr. Neil Emery, Professor of Biology and Vice President, Research at Trent, and fellow researcher Dr. Anna Kisiala has identified how to harness those natural hormones to encourage soybean plant health and strength and increase seed size and pod numbers. Continue reading

Locally produced algae cleans waste water, feeds livestock

Noble 2 - courtesy Trent University - web

Dr. Andressa Lacerda

By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough – Local researchers have developed several strains of algae that can clean waste water as well as serve as a potential livestock superfood.

Nobletech Inc.’s Noble Purification division is currently piloting its algae-based clean water technology, and Noble Biotech has developed sustainable animal feed that is high in protein and omega fatty acids. The company is part of the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster.

“Our core technology for both of these applications is the algae product itself,” explains Dr. Andressa Lacerda, a recent Ph.D. graduate of Trent’s environmental and life sciences program. “We’re algae farmers, and we grow algae with different purposes.” Continue reading

Bioproducts 2.0: Why Canada’s soybean industry is partnering with the world’s largest lab-for-hire

Soy 20/20 logoThis article is from Soy 20/20, one of the AgInnovation Ontario partner organizations.

By Lisa McLean for Soy 20/20

Most soybean growers have heard the stories about Henry Ford’s enthusiasm for soybeans.

Ford famously championed soy – along with wheat, flax and other crops – in the development of auto parts, including plastics and paints.

But those products were not without their drawbacks: automotive paint enamels and coatings, for example, offered poor durability, limited colour options, and took several days to set.

Rick Heggs, senior marketing manager with Battelle, the world’s largest non-profit research and development organization, counts Ford’s early forays into bio-product development as part of an era he calls “version 1.0” – when it was still fairly routine for industry to develop agricultural products for industrial uses. Continue reading

Innovation has its roadblocks

Soy 20/20 logoThis article is from Soy 20/20, one of the AgInnovation Ontario partner organizations.

Expert panel gets real about the challenges of developing the next big thing

 By Lisa McLean for Soy 20/20

An innovative food product with health benefits is a good start for success in the Canadian marketplace.

But to be truly successful, entrepreneurs and product developers need to allow plenty of time for regulation, red tape and consumer acceptance of technologies.

That was the message to industry representatives and academics gathered at the 25th Canadian Conference on Fats and Oilseeds held in Quebec City October 5-6. Continue reading