Central Okanagan  

Extracting the good stuff

Forget harsh chemicals, a laboratory in Summerland is using good old fashioned water to extract nutrients from plants.

The new technology, used by Mazza Innovation, is getting a boost from the federal government to help upscale their environmentally friendly process.

On behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, MP Dan Albas announced that $175,000 will be invested to help Mazza Innovation turn phytochemicals into a revenue stream for farmers.

"This investment will help support technology that uses pressurized water rather than solvents to extract phytochemicals from fruits and vegetables for use in foods and pharmaceuticals."

The phytochemicals being extracted will have protective and disease preventive properties, such as antioxidants, to boost the nutritional value of everyday foods for consumers.

The technology claims to have the potential to fill a gap in the nutraceuticals  market, as consumers continue to look for food products with health and medical benefits to protect against disease.

Farmers could access new markets with the technology by creating value-added opportunities for their crops.

Dr. Joe Mazza, founder of Mazza Innovation, says his companies interest stems from extracting high value products from the waste streams of fruit and vegetable processing industries.

"We also want to provide extraction technology to companies that want to avoid the use of expensive and flammable chemical solvents. This investment by the Government of Canada will accelerate the commercialization of out technology and the job creation that will come about as a result of this."

The project is funded under the Agricultural Innovation Program, a $50 million initiative announced as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2011. Both provincial and federal governments have agreed to invest more than $3 billion over five years in innovation, competitiveness and market development.

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