A Summerland agricultural research company has received $300,000 in federal funding to work on scaling a new chemical extraction method to a commercial scale.
Mazza’s technology uses pressurized low-polarity water to extract valuable chemicals from plant for use in products such as foods, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Traditional methods of extraction from plants use solvents, like ethanol, which can pose hazards to health and the environment. Since it uses only water, Mazza’s process leaves the extracted chemicals in a purer state.
“It’s elegant technology,” Mazza said. “We take water and modify it to make it behave like an organic solvent.”
Mazza, a renowned global authority on phytochemical extraction, founded the Summerland-based Mazza Innovation in 2011 to develop his process. It can be applied to a variety of crops, creating the possibility of a new revenue stream for local growers.
“This Canadian-made pioneering technology will increase the demand for a wide variety of Canadian agriculture crops and help processors boost their profits while fulfilling the growing demand for health-enhancing foods,” said Dan Albas, MP for Okanagan Coquihalla, who made the presentation in Summerland on Monday.
Summerland Mayor Janice Perrino said she was excited to see such an innovative process being developed in Summerland, and thanked Mazza for choosing to locate there.
For his part, Mazza was just as excited to receive the funding.
“The funding will help finance the optimization of our patented extraction process which will not only help Canadian agriculture producers enhance the value of their crops, but will provide a green, sustainable and more cost-effective system to extract phytochemicals from plants,” said Mazza. “Our aim is to be the technology of choice for the production of high value ingredients used in nutraceuticals, essentially functional foods and beverages and dietary supplements.”
The funding comes through the AgriInnovation Program, a five-year initiative supporting pre-commercialization research, development and knowledge transfer to innovations in agriculture, agri-food and agriculturally-based practices, processes and products.