Burcon announces breakthrough in sunflower protein development
Burcon NutraScience Corporation, a technology company involved in the development of plant-based proteins for the F&B sector, has announced that it has developed an economical, scalable process to extract high-purity protein ingredients from sunflower seeds for use in foods and beverages.
Leveraging its core protein technology platform and expertise, Burcon has developed a proprietary extraction and purification process to convert sunflower meal, a by-product of the production of sunflower oil, into high-quality sunflower protein isolates that feature a neutral taste and off-white color. These properties make them ideal for use in a variety of valuable food applications, in particular those featuring delicate flavors. Sunflower proteins currently on the market consist of concentrates in the range of 50-60% protein content, while Burcon’s new sunflower protein isolates are greater than 90% pure protein. Similar to all Burcon proteins, its sunflower proteins feature exceptional taste and functional attributes that can address many of the formulation challenges currently facing plant-based protein product developers as they address rising global consumer demands for protein-rich foods and beverages that have clean labels and are natural, tasty and more sustainable.
“A source of clean-label, plant-based protein that offers excellent taste and texture is exactly what food and beverage product formulators are seeking," commented Peter H. Kappel, interim CEO & Chairman of the Board. "We are highly encouraged by the positive feedback we’ve received to date for our sunflower protein and are working diligently to bring this next-generation protein ingredient to market as soon as possible.”
Sunflower is the world’s third-largest oilseed crop – behind soy and canola/rapeseed – and is a natural oilseed source of non-GMO, non-allergenic, clean label protein. Once oil is extracted from the seeds, the leftover meal is normally fed to livestock to develop animal protein. However, the Burcon process innovation allows high-quality, food-grade plant protein to be upcycled directly from the meal much more effectively, making it a highly sustainable protein ingredient for use in various food and beverage applications around the world.
Burcon is collaborating with Pristine Gourmet, a processor of 100% pure Canadian, non-GMO cold-pressed virgin oils, to further optimize Burcon’s novel sunflower protein technology. The parties are working together under a previously announced CA$1 million project that included a co-investment from Protein Industries Canada. In addition, Burcon intends to develop ideal food and beverage applications for its unique sunflower protein isolate while establishing a market for this new class of plant-based protein ingredients.
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