June 18, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – National Research Council of Canada
The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Corteva Agriscience are collaborating on a research project to increase the quantity and quality of protein in canola. With consumer demand growing globally for sustainable, high-protein plant sources, Canadian researchers are teaming up to find ways for canola, an already important crop, to expand its uses to meet that demand.
After extracting the oil from canola seeds, a by-product with a desirable amino acid and nutritional profile is created. Until now, that by-product, called “meal,” has been used primarily as a component in animal feed. However, there is significant potential for expanding livestock and poultry use of canola meal, as well as higher-value applications such as human nutrition.
The overall goal of the project is to develop improved varieties of canola that optimize seed composition, specifically focussing on increasing protein, reducing fibre and increasing energy content in the seed and meal.
The project supports the Protein Industries Canada (PIC) supercluster co-funded consortium project led by Corteva Agriscience. It aims to create higher-value applications and new markets for canola and increase export opportunities that already inject billions of dollars into Canada’s economy. This is the first commercial breeding project to focus on protein quality improvement and reflects PIC’s mandate to develop canola as a protein crop, rather than focussing only on oil.
The NRC’s Sustainable Protein Production program will apply its genomics tools, technologies and expertise to identify novel genetic variants that optimize canola’s oil seed composition. Beyond this research collaboration, the program aims to increase the value of plant-based proteins and co-products (e.g. oil extraction), and move products up the value chain.