Two more US patent allowances for Burcon’s protein isolates

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Patent

Canadian firm Burcon has received two new notices of allowance from the US Patent and Trademark Office for its Puratein and Supertein canola protein isolates.

The notices represent another step towards full patent protection for the canola proteins that Burcon has been developing since 1999. A notice of allowance is written notification that a patent application has cleared internal review and is nearing issuance.

The company has already been issued with other notices of allowance regarding its Puratein and Supertein canola protein isolates, but these latest notices cover processes for producing isolates that are separated into their native underlying protein fractions.

Canola is most commonly used as a cooking oil or to make salad dressing, but Burcon has developed proprietary processes that separate out two distinct protein fractions, napin-rich Supertein and cruciferin-rich Puratein.

Puratein, which comprises mainly globulin proteins, is said to be useful for emulsification, gel formation, thickening, formation of heat-stable foams, and water- and ingredient-binding. Its applications include dressings, sauces, meat substitutes, baked goods and protein bars.

Meanwhile, Supertein is a highly-soluble canola protein isolate composed of mainly albumin proteins. The functional properties of Supertein include excellent solubility, the ability to form transparent solutions, foaming and nutrition, according to the company. Applications include beverages, confectionery, aerated desserts, and protein bars, among others.

President and Chief Operating Officer Johann F. Tergesen said: “The two naturally occurring proteins in canola have highly distinct functional and nutritional characteristics, similar to the way that the two proteins in egg, egg-yolk and egg-white, have distinct characteristics. Our patented processes for the production of Puratein and Supertein canola protein isolates create two distinct protein ingredients with separate nutritional and functional profiles allowing for their use in specific food and beverage applications.”

The company says it is building a portfolio of patents, including for protein extraction processes that it believes are not commercially viable, in order to “gain as much protection in the protein extraction and purification space as possible”. ​So far, it has 115 patents in various countries, including 12 in the US. It has an additional 200 patents pending, including 68 in the US.


Burcon announced self-affirmed GRAS – generally recognized as safe – for its Puratein and Supertein protein isolates in October 2007, after review of evidence by a panel of experts from fields including food safety, toxicology, allergies and pediatric medicine.

The company took another step to commercializing its canola protein extracts by filing for GRAS with the Food and Drug Administration last month, in a move that could advance negotiations with firms that demand more than self-affirmed GRAS.

The ultimate goal of Burcon and its partner ADM is to have the two products join the soy, dairy and egg protein ingredient market, for use in foods, nutritional supplements and personal care products.

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