Burcon adds to functional properties of new proteins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Egg white

Canadian firm Burcon NutraScience, which has teamed up with ADM to
bring a new plant-derived protein to market, has filed another
patent application that further strengthens its bid to take over
sales of egg and other proteins.

The patent covers changes to its production process that significantly reduce levels of flavor and color in its canola isolates Puratein and Supertein. The technology is expected to expand the applications for the ingredients, allowing their use in products with more delicate flavors.

The patent is the fourth to be filed so far this year as Burcon aims to protect the world's first commercial manufacturing process for canola proteins and boost the functionality of the new ingredients, set to launch on the global market in June 2006.

The introduction of a new protein could significantly shake up the current proteins market as the products have been said to offer similar properties to many of the higher value animal proteins, particularly egg.

"ADM will go after egg proteins, then look at areas that soy cannot get into, such as acidic beverages,"​ Mike Kirwan, senior vice president of corporate developments at Burcon, told NutraIngredientsUSA.com recently.

A report carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute based in Germany in 2002 showed that the canola protein isolates were almost 100 per cent soluble in neutral conditions. Supertein was also found have good solubility in acidic settings.

Further, both proteins had an emulsification capacity and emulsification activity which was comparable to egg yolk and better than Na-caseinate (milk protein) under certain conditions, while Supertein was also shown to have very good whipping properties - better even than ovalbumin (egg-white), according to the report.

Kirwan said that these properties will allow ADM to sell Supertein for a double digit figure, just undercutting egg proteins, currently selling for around C$21 per kg. Puratein will likely be on a similar price range to soy.

The company is looking to sell around 10 million kg of the isolates in the first year.

Meanwhile Burcon is also funding studies investigating canola's potential benefits to health to further boost the value of the ingredients to food manufacturers. Results are expected this autumn.

"Generally all proteins are somewhat hypertensive. Canola is likely to have numerous benefits, with anti-cholesterol effects probably the most interesting ones,"​ said Kirwan.

The ingredients are still subject to some toxicity tests and a GRAS dossier will be compiled to gain access to the US food market. Production will however be in Europe, a major canola producer, to guarantee GM-free status.

Another patent filed this year covered a process to produce sodium-free versions of Puratein and Supertein, which may be valued by food processors who wish to produce sodium-reduced products.

Related topics: Market Trends

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