Bakers Journal

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Company isolates protein that could replace eggs


October 10, 2008
By The Canadian Press

Oct. 9, 2008, Winnipeg — A Vancouver-based company with Winnipeg roots has made a
breakthrough in the American market by isolating proteins in canola
that could potentially replace eggs in mayonnaise and find their way
into countless other foods and beverages.

Burcon NutraScience Corp., which has a research and
development arm in Fort Garry, Man., announced Tuesday that the
proteins have received the seal of approval from a panel of
international experts, allowing them to be considered ''generally
regarded as safe'' for human consumption in the United States.

''It's
been a long, long, long time coming,'' said Johann Tergesen, Burcon's
president and chief operating officer, from Vancouver. He said
the nod from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is a major
advancement in the commercialization of the world's first food-grade
canola proteins, which the company has named Puratein and Supertein.

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Burcon has partnered with the American-based agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland to market the proteins. Tergesen,
a native of Gimli, Man., said Archer Daniels Midland is already working
with some of the world's top food companies on products that could hit
store shelves in the United States by early 2010. The proteins have yet to receive regulatory approval in Canada.

Canola seed has long been processed to produce a healthy vegetable oil. Burcon
researchers have been working for more than a decade on isolating
proteins, similar to what is done with soybeans, milk and eggs, for the
multibillion-dollar protein ingredients industry.

"It's good
news for canola again," said Robert Hunter, a spokesman for the Canola
Council of Canada, recalling the boost canola oil received in the U.S.
two years ago when health authorities allowed the industry to make a
qualified health claim for the product.

Work on isolating the
canola proteins began in Winnipeg in the early 1990s at a company known
as BMW Canola. It was purchased by Burcon in 1999.

A unique feature of one of the Burcon canola proteins is that it can be dissolved into highly acidic beverages, such as fruit
juices, sport energy drinks or soda. The company dissolved some of
the protein powder into a glass of champagne at its Waller Avenue
research facility on Tuesday to demonstrate how the bubbly remained
clear.

The other protein can be used as an emulsifier, ingredient
binder or thickening agent suitable for use in mayonnaise, salad
dressings, baked goods, protein bars and meat substitutes.