Bioexx says canola protein has self-affirmed GRAS status

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Amino acid

Canada’s Bioexx has announced it has that it has completed the self-affirmation process to qualify its specialty canola protein isolate Isolexx as self-affirmed GRAS (‘Generally Regarded as Safe’) for use in baked goods and other food products.

GRAS is a food safety standard, set and administered in accordance with the regulations of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which governs the use of additives in foods and beverages.

Self affirmed GRAS status, said the company, is a critical requirement to be able to sell its product in the initial target market of the US, and it was obtained through a review of both the manufacturing process and the resulting chemical profile of Isolexx by independent and qualified experts in the fields of toxicology and allergenicity.

According to the company, its isolate compares favourably with both soy protein and whey protein isolates, and can be used in bakery products such as bread, rolls, cakes, cake mixtures, cookies, biscuits, crackers, pancakes, sweet pastry, snacks, doughnuts, and pasta as well as protein bars.

Foam stability

Chris Schnarr, chief financial officer at the company, told that Isolexx’s good emulsion and foam capacity together with its high solubility means it should perform very well for many baking applications requiring foam stability in the presence of fats in addition to increasing volume and loft.

“The strength of our protein isolate is due to the low processing temperatures and the isolation technique which yield an exceptionally soluble, undenatured protein isolate,”​ he added.

Schnarr maintains that the high solubility of Isolexx will also help in terms of structure.

He maintains that from a nutritional perspective, the isolate has a balanced amino acid profile with adequate levels of all the essential amino acids and "is uniquely high in the sulphur containing amino acids (methionine and cysteine) compared to other vegetable proteins, has low levels of anti-nutritionals, and is also free of phytoestrogens​.”

Product integration

According to Schnarr, the integration aspects differ quite significantly depending on the particular bakery application.

“The product has shown good breadth and flexibility to date. It is extremely soluble, quick hydrating, and may be easily mixed in since it has a similar particle size to flour.”

He said that Bioexx is currently collaborating with manufacturers to test a range of applications.

Protein content

The company said that the self affirmed GRAS status is specific to the Brassica juncea​ variety of canola, which contains higher than normal protein content in the seed, and a non-GM status.

The more conventional canola variety, Brassica napus, requires a separate self-affirmation which BioExx said it may pursue in due course but this is not expected to be required for production at either the current Saskatoon plant or the planned Minot, North Dakota plant, according to Bioexx.

Cost structure

The protein isolate, which according to current market pricing will be between $6,000 and $8,000 per metric ton, has a purity of 92.8 per cent, said the firm.

Bioexx added that it expects to have the protein commercially available for sale as a food ingredient by mid to late Februrary 2010.

Wider markets

Schnarr said that the company is anxious to serve European and Canadian markets, but is currently confident in the capacity of the North American markets to absorb its production in the interim.

“We have engaged a firm to pursue the required Canadian authorisations on our behalf and expect to have that completed in spring of 2010. Europe will likely take longer, depending on the initial response of authorities there,”​ he said.

In terms of seeking an FDA letter of non-objection for Isolexx, Schnarr explained that this was not a requirement in the context of the company’s current customer base:

“However, we may well undertake GRAS notification in due course, in particular as we construct additional plants and our capacity grows.”

This article was amended from the one originally published on 1 December on to reflect the fact that the correct market release date for the protein to be available for sale as a food ingredient is February 2010 and not January 2011 as originally stated.

Related topics: The GM debate, Regulation

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