Burcon NutraScience Corporation has announced that it has filed three applications for US patents to protect its intellectual property relating to innovations in the extraction and purification of protein from canola. 

The filings are intended to protect Burcon's advancements in: 1) adapting from batch to continuous processing, 2) modifying inputs to improve both protein yield and quality, and 3) producing distinct new protein fractions.

At the core of Burcon's process is its micelle technology, initially pursued by Dr. Don Murray and BMW Canola Inc, (Burcon-MB) which he co-founded in 1992. Burcon-MB took the technology from the bench to a small pilot-scale plant and then to the semi-works stage.  Now, through the contributions of Randy Willardsen, senior VP of process and Dr. Radka Milanova, senior VP of R&D, Burcon is commercializing these technologies.

"Our new technology allows us to further fractionate canola protein and create new products", said Randy Willardsen, "Identifying and separating new fractions makes the total process that much more valuable".

Burcon has spent much of the last two years conducting research aimed at proving and optimizing its separation technology. The objective of this research was to develop a large-scale continuous production process, with minimized equipment costs, maximized yield and which produces a market-grade end product. Research was also directed at broadening the micelle technology's applicability to other oilseeds and to a variety of non-standard input materials.

"These patent filings represent the culmination of considerable research and discovery by our team in Winnipeg", said Carole Berkahn, VP intellectual property. "Our goal is straightforward: to know more than anyone about canola protein and to have the strongest and broadest patent position possible."

Burcon NutraScience is a research and development company developing a portfolio of compound, application and process patents around its plant protein extraction and purification technology. The goal of Burcon's research is to develop its patented process to utilize inexpensive oilseed meals for the production of purified plant proteins that exhibit valuable nutritional, functional or nutraceutical profiles.

Burcon is currently focusing its efforts on developing the world's first commercial canola protein, Puratein™. Canola, recognized for its nutritional qualities, is Canada's largest oilseed crop and the second largest oilseed crop in the world after soybeans. Burcon's goal is to develop Puratein to participate with soy, dairy, and egg proteins in the expanding multi-billion dollar protein ingredient market with potential uses in prepared foods, nutritional supplements, and personal care products.