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April 1, 2005
For immediate release

Extraction Capability at the Food Technology Centre Enhances its Work with the Biosciences Sector

BioFoodTech

A major expansion at the Prince Edward Island Food Technology Centre to accommodate the Atlantic Natural Products Development Initiative was officially opened today. The Honourable Shawn Murphy, Member of Parliament for Charlotteown and the Honourable Mike Currie, Minister of Development and Technology were on hand to tour the new bioresource extraction facility.

From within the new laboratory and processing suites, scientists are working with private-sector partners to develop innovative technologies to extract high-value natural products from agricultural and marine bioresources.

“Highly-skilled personnel have been attracted to PEI to carry out this leading edge research with strong commercialization potential which is allowing the Food Technology Centre to better meet the needs of the bioscience sector,” said Mr. Murphy on behalf of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). “This extraction capability also complements the expanding biosciences cluster that is focused around the new National Research Council’s Institute for Nutrisciences and Health which is currently under construction. PEI is making tremendous strides in this sector and ACOA is proud to be a supporter of this important work.”

Demand for natural products continues to grow in the global marketplace. Through the Atlantic Natural Products Development Initiative, the Food Technology Centre is exploring new extraction technologies, such as ultrasonic applications, to improve the quality and the yield of the extracts obtained.

“Bioscience and nutraceuticals are a fast growing and highly competitive field. Luckily for PEI, we have many advantages over other places that are also looking to develop in this area,” said Minister Currie. “Our abundance of agricultural and marine resources can provide the raw materials for what could be valuable discoveries in medicine and health promotion. The work being done at the Food Technology Centre is an important step in that process.”

The current research focus is on bioproducts such as natural colours, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals from a variety of raw materials such as lobster shells, seaweed, agricultural crops and wild plants. Industry partners in the initiative include Bio Exx Inc., Naturally Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association, Ocean Nutrition Canada, and Ocean Produce International.

The Atlantic Natural Products Development Initiative is being funded through a $4.9 million contribution from ACOA’s Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF). The Province of Prince Edward Island is providing $1.5 million. Bio Exx Inc. is contributing $300,000. Other industry partners will be contributing as research is undertaken at the new facility.

The PEI Food Technology Centre has achieved ISO 9001:2000 registration for all its services and has earned Standards Council of Canada accreditation for its laboratory services

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Media Contact: Ann Thurlow