BC Innovation Council Awards $220,000 for the Commercialization of
Agricultural Technologies

VANCOUVER, Sept. 21 /CNW/ - BC Innovation Council (BCIC) is pleased to announce the Expression of Interest voucher recipients of the BCIC Commercialization of Agricultural Technology (CAT) Competition, who are awarded $10,000 each to put towards developing business plans for the next round of competition. Out of 60 applicants to this competition, 22 companies were successful in moving forward to the Proof of Concept stage.

The winning companies are involved in a diverse range of advanced science and technology innovations in the agriculture, food and bioproducts sectors. Top applicants will then be required to make a presentation to a panel of expert judges for a chance to win a portion of the $600,000 proof of concept money.

"Congratulations to the winners of the BCIC CAT competition who are leading the way with new innovations for BC's economic future," said Small Business, Technology and Economic Development Minister Iain Black. "It is a key priority for our Ministry to continue supporting research and innovation in the province by encouraging the transformation of innovative ideas into commercial reality."

The BCIC CAT Competition increases the awareness of BC's thriving agriculture and food industry. Generating over $2.5 billion at the farm gate and over $8 billion in food processing sales, BC's agri-food industry now exports over $2.5 billion of agricultural products and employs over 305,000 individuals province-wide.

"Government is committed to strengthening BC's agri-food businesses through innovation," said Agriculture and Lands Minister Steve Thomson. "When the world comes to BC for the 2010 Winter Olympics, we will have the opportunity to showcase technology and innovation in agriculture."

The announcement and introduction of the 22 Expression of Interest voucher recipients will be made at BCIC's Roundtable event Accelerating Innovation to Commercialization: Innovation in Agriculture, Food and Ag-bioproducts on September 21, 2009 at the SFU Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver. The event includes presentations by successful BC agri-food entrepreneurs and features Gord Surgeoner, President of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies and his influential model support program. There will also be a roundtable discussion on ways to attract investment and accelerate commercialization in BC where support programs will be identified.

About the BC Innovation Council

The British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC) is the lead organization driving the commercialization of innovation in British Columbia. BCIC is focused on accelerating the growth of our science and technology communities and competitively positioning British Columbia in the global science and technology economy in order to provide significant employment opportunities and a high standard of living for British Columbians. BCIC is a Crown agency of the Province of British Columbia.

    
    For more information about BCIC, visit www.bcic.ca.

    About the BCIC CAT Competition
    

The BCIC Commercialization of Agricultural Technology (CAT) Competition is focused on strengthening BC's agriculture, food and bioproducts sectors. It bridges the gap between research and industry by transforming innovations into real-world solutions. There are two stages to the competition: The Expression of Interest (EOI) stage and the Proof of Concept stage.

For more information about the BCIC CAT Competition, visit www.bcic.ca/industry/life-sciences.

    
    BACKGROUNDER

       2009 BCIC Commercialization of Agricultural Technologies (CAT)
        Competition Expression of Interest Voucher Recipient Projects

    AgriForest Biotech Ltd.
    Photoautotrophic Micro-propagation for Commercial Production of
    Agricultural and Horticultural Crops

    AgriForest Biotech Ltd.'s main objective is to establish a
photoautrotrophic micro-propagation facility with optimized environmental and
in-vitro conditions for the large-scale production of several new commercially
important plant varieties for the agriculture and horticulture industries. The
commercial application of this technology can produce hundred of thousand of
clones of new plant varieties within a year at a significantly lower cost than
conventional tissue culture micro-propagation.

    Babe's Honey Farm
    Vancouver Island Honeybee Colony Health and Honey Production
    Monitoring Project

    Babe's Honey Farm is proposing to develop a science based and reproducible
standard of operating practices to make British Columbia a world leader in
apiculture. A comprehensive data acquisition and management system using
state-of-the-art loggers and software will be developed that will track all
aspects of honeybee husbandry. The data will provide a scientific basis for
making better management decisions and provide credible data that can be used
to both monitor honeybee health and evaluate the factors that may impacting
it.

    Bakerview EcoDairy Ltd.
    Comprehensive Anaerobic Digester & Nutrient Management System

    Bakerview EcoDairy Ltd.'s objective is to create cost-effective
sustainable anaerobic digester systems for conversion of dairy manure to
by-products such as biogas, heat, bedding, and fertilizer. The anaerobic
digester will be located on the Bakerview EcoDairy located in Abbotsford and
will showcase innovative and sustainable farming practices to the public.

    Daiya Foods
    Manufacturing of a Non-Dairy Vegan "Cheese", From Natural Agricultural
    Plant Ingredients

    Daiya Foods has been conducting research and development of a new soft
style technology platform which has the potential of creating non-dairy cheese
hybrids that can substitute for almost every popular variety of dairy-based
equivalents. Daiya Foods has achieved very promising results in bench top
testing and would like to complete the R&D bench top tests and scale up the
process at its facility in Abbotsford.

    EcoFert Incorporation
    Developing Liquid Organic Fertilizers with High N, P, K Using Organic
    Waste from Hotels and Restaurants

    EcoFert Incorporation plans to use organic wastes from BC hotels and
restaurants to solve the problem a non-availability of organic nutrients for
organic growers by turning organic wastes to liquid organic fertilizers
through microbial fermentation which can deliver necessary macro and micro
nutrients in sufficient quantities. The adoption of this organic fertilizer
will directly increase the crop productivity and encourage organic farming
which would lower the production and market costs.

    Enhanced Environmental Systems Inc.
    MicroAir Technology

    Enhanced Environmental Systems Inc. has developed a proprietary
"semi-closed roof" greenhouse system which delivers energy reductions, reduces
water usage, mitigates crop contamination, and potentially increases crop
production. Other uses of this technology are not limited to commercial
greenhouses and could include the heating and cooling of other large
agricultural buildings such as commercial poultry, turkey and hog operations.

    EnvirEau Technologies
    Bacterial and Fungal Protection for Food Products Using Natural Minerals

    EnvirEau Technologies utilizes minute amounts of natural minerals as aquo
ions of the mineral in a hydrophilic formulation which will protect
agricultural crops pre- and post-harvest from bacterial and fungal infection
without the use of synthetic pesticides.

    Enviro-Quest Technologies Inc.
    Co-digestion of Glycerol: Supporting the Economic Sustainability
    of Biofuels

    Enviro-Quest Technologies Inc. proposes to develop methods for mixing
crude glycerol, a by-product of biodiesel, into the anaerobic digestion
process to increase methane yields based on waste streams that are available
in British Columbia. Laboratory and pilot plant studies will evaluate the use
of waste glycerol as co-substrate in anaerobic digestion of manure/sewage in
particular.

    EnWave Corporation
    Mid-Sized nutraREV Dehydration Technology

    EnWave Corporation's signature Radiant Energy Vacuum (REV) microwave
technology has been incorporated into nutraREVTM which is designed for use in
the food industry to replace freeze drying for the dehydration of fruits,
vegetables, herbs, seafood, meats and low-fat snack foods. This technology
dehydrates foods more quickly and less expensively than conventional methods
of dehydration. EnWave intends to build a new version of this technology which
suites the production requirements of small and medium sized food processing
companies.

    FCC Fresh Concept Canada Ltd
    Controlled Atmosphere Ocean Freight Exports of Fresh BC Blueberries

    FCC would like to apply technological advances in controlled atmosphere
storage containers to ocean freight transportation of BC Blueberries. By
storing and transporting fruit crops under different atmospheric and
temperature regimes the shelf life and time to market can be extended with
minimal adverse effects on taste or marketability. The ability to extend shelf
life and to transport crops during this period opens new market opportunities
for BC growers.

    HeriO
    Integrated Autopoetic and Controlled Organic Greenhouse Production

    HeriO has created a greenhouse production system that integrates high-tech
hydroponics with organic production resulting in reduced fertilizer and
irrigation use. This innovative system is a more sustainable option for the
organic greenhouse industry due to its lower costs, zero waste, and more
predictive production. A half acre pilot-scale production system is currently
being designed and tested in Langley.

    Innovative Foods Systems
    Novel Antimicrobial Products for Modified Atmosphere Packaged Fruits,
    Vegetable, Flowers

    Innovative Food Systems intends to provide a complete novel system for the
sanitation, preservation, and maintenance of food products that will be ripe,
ready-to-eat, and in a food safe configuration. The sanitation technologies
will be synergistic to the developing modified atmosphere box and lid
technologies recently patented. The production processes of the greenhouse,
orchard and field crop industries will be enhanced to provide sanitized fresh
produce.

    Lignol Innovations Ltd
    Biobased Pre Biotic Animal Feed Additives, Alternative to Antibiotics

    Lignol Innovations Ltd will use a biorefinery extract (bioproduct) to
develop a pre-biotic type feed additive with the capability to replace or
mitigate the use of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics in food (poultry,
pigs, beef, dairy cattle) and companion animals. The use of this product, a
very pure lignin, as an animal feed additive would improve animal health,
reduce costs, and reduce the dependency of farmers on the low dose
applications of antibiotics as growth promoters, a practice which is already
banned in many European countries as well as coming under regulatory scrutiny
in North America, because of concern over the downstream development of
antibiotic resistance in humans.

    L.W. Truscott Farms
    Cherise Cherry/Fruit Juice/Jam-Fabrication of Juice Steam Extractor

    L.W. Truscott Farms intends to utilize culled fruit waste and other
natural healthy ingredients to create food products that are a source of
anthocyanins and anti-oxidants as well as other market value-added products.
Twenty percent of their own crop is currently being thrown away as culls and
useable fruit. The utilization of culled fruit would reduce waste, create jobs
in Creston, and provide financial stability.

    Metrilink Technology Corporation
    Feed Bin Level Measurement and Security System

    Metrilink's system provides a means of using mesh communications networks
to convey accurate feed level measurement information in a regular and timely
basis from feed bins to the farmer or directly to the feed distributor. This
will solve three distinct problems: running out of feed at a bad time,
inefficient use of delivery trucks, and biosecurity. Metrilink intends to
commercialize the product during 2009 with worldwide marketing to be placed by
the end of 2009.

    MONSystems Inc.
    MilkMON

    MONSystems Inc. is creating a unique web-based enterprise-reporting system
that provides online information on all monitored areas on the farm. MilkMON
would be the first complete multi-location management and monitoring system
offering both hardware and software in a single integrated solution to come to
market. It can be used on farms to enhance the safety and quality of milk by
constantly monitoring temperatures, humidity and equipment in each stage of
production.

    Mountain View Wasabi Inc.
    Commercialization of BC Grown Wasabi Micropropagated Plants and
    Wasabi Products

    Mountain View Wasabi Inc. has developed a method of using plant tissue
culture technology to produce large numbers of disease-free wasabi plants in a
short amount of time. Their objective is to commercialize wasabi plants to
growers so they can establish their field or greenhouse productions by
supplying year-round disease-free transplants that do not require heavy
pesticides applications to compromise environmental sustainability.

    Paramount Agri-Research Inc.
    The Production of Horticulture Fertilizers and Soil Conditioners from
    Agricultural and Industrial Waste

    Paramount Agri-support intends to convert biomass into charcoal (biochar)
by burning it under oxygen free conditions to incorporate into a growth medium
where it will improve water and nutrient retention, and promote the growth of
beneficial soil microflora. They intend to use biochar and various microbes to
design a series of novel products that will be targeted towards greenhouse
growers or residential markets that service turf and home gardens.

    Sungard Building Product
    Agricultural Biomass and Waste, Densification, Dewatering, Compaction,
    Reduction and Reallocation

    Sungard Building Products has developed an innovative device and process
that permits the densification, compaction, reduction, dewatering and reuse of
a wide range of agricultural wastes, including animal manures, straws,
grasses, chaffs and stover into usable products suitable as clean burning
fuels for existing and new combustion, heating and energy systems.

    SupraRnD
    Development of Environmentally Benign, Yet Efficient, Extraction and
    Fraction Strategies for Biomass

    SupraRnD has developed a device that effectively scales up highly
efficient lab extraction methods. It is designed so that no solvent is
consumed or released during the extraction and that no solvent residues end up
in the final product. This approach provides a simple way to increase economic
profitability from a given agricultural product as well as non-traditional
agricultural by-products that contain valuable chemical products that are not
yet economically exploited.

    University of British Columbia Okanagan
    Biotechnology Resources for Improving Water Use

    Researchers at UBC will be introducing new drought-tolerant rootstock
genotypes to the wine industry and providing a novel molecular-level portable
kit for early drought stress detection. With these innovations both water use
efficiency and irrigation management practices will be improved with respect
to both the timing and quantity of water used for grapevine berry production
for wine making in British Columbia.

    West Coast Aquaponics
    Integrated Aquaculture and Hydroponic Vegetable Farm

    West Coast Aquaponics' technology exploits the symbiotic relationship
between fish and plants in a closed system to produce a high value protein,
and high quality vegetables or herbs close to or within urban areas. The
system will consume less water than traditional aquaculture systems and
methods of growing vegetables or herbs in soil, and will also be pesticide,
hormone and chemical free.
    

SOURCE BC Innovation Council

For further information: For further information: Irene Phan, Marketing and Communications Specialist, BC Innovation Council, (604) 602-5238, 1-800-665-7222, iphan@bcic.ca


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