Project takes co-products from processing to create delivery agent for micronutrient

*From Protein Industries Canada*

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.

Read the full press release here.