Bunge buys Saskatoon canola protein developer

A Saskatoon company developing canola protein ingredients for the feed sector, with an eye on the food and cosmetics markets, is the newest subsidiary of U.S. agrifood giant Bunge.

Bunge announced Wednesday it has bought the assets and patents of privately-held MCN BioProducts for an undisclosed sum.

Those assets include MCN’s processes for converting de-oiled canola and rapeseed meals into "nutritionally dense protein concentrates" as potential replacements for fish meal and/or other vegetable protein concentrates in pet, livestock and aquaculture diets.

The products MCN had been moving toward commercialization include CanPro IP insoluble protein concentrate, CanPro SP soluble protein concentrate, CanPro FP fiber protein and CanSugar, a soluble sugar concentrate.

MCN was founded in 2000 by a group of researchers to bring to market the canola fractionation process they developed at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

The company, whose founders included researchers David Maenz, Henry Classen and Rex Newkirk, has said its products are meant to "maximize value in their respective markets and generate significant value in excess of that derived from canola meal."

"Asset network"

MCN’s concentrates are made using a patented, enzymatic water-based process that can be added to an existing canola and rapeseed crushing plant without affecting oil quality or yield, Miguel Oliveira, executive director for Bunge Global Innovation, said in a release Wednesday.

"MCN’s technology opens up opportunities for Bunge to provide protein alternatives in markets where we already operate, as well as in new ones," he said.

Bunge, Oliveira said, "has the right operational expertise and asset network to successfully commercialize this process and leverage it in our core businesses in the years to come."

MCN in 2007 struck a licensing deal for its fractionation process with Can Pro Ingredients, a northeastern Saskatchewan company.

Can Pro, of which MCN is part owner, runs an alfalfa dehy plant at Arborfield, about 90 km northeast of Melfort, to process canola for oil and protein extracts, on top of its existing dehy work.

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