There is a tremendous value in Ceapro's new enabling technologies, a value that is complementary to Ceapro's traditional bioprocessing business. We expect to be able to commercialize some of our development projects into new products for the medicinal food, nutraceutical, or pharmaceutical markets.
An in-house project using a proprietary technology was conducted to generate a new product with a unique class of avenanthramides (AVs). The scientific literature reports that AVs offer natural alternatives to treat inflammation based diseases such as atherosclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer and joint inflammation. The issue is that AVs are only available at 5-150 ppm in conventional oats and there were no established method to concentrate and purify them on a large manufacturing scale to conduct controlled large clinical studies. Prior to 2013, Ceapro had determined which solvent system best dissolves AVs and which solvent system ensures a longer AVs shelf life. Using an innovative scale-up chromatography technology, Ceapro’s researchers proved that it was possible to scale-up the technology and demonstrated that the theoretical recovery of AVs and binding capacity extrapolated from laboratory trials is achievable on a pilot scale. Ceapro also generated vital stability data which proves that dried purified AVs are very stable even in extreme storage environments. During these experiments, Ceapro researchers generated high purity dried AVs powder that was sent for physical characterization and used in clinical trials at the University of Minnesota. Positive findings from clinical trials will allow Ceapro to incorporate AVs into new formulations to develop natural alternatives to treat diseases such as atherosclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Pressurized Gas Expanded (PGX) Technology
The PGX Technology, which is patented in the U.S., Europe and Canada, is a platform technology that is used to convert biopolymers into high-value materials overcoming the challenges associated with the drying of high molecular weight biopolymers using conventional technologies. Moderate PGX processing conditions, involving the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) and ethanol (alcohol), for water removal and biopolymer precipitation minimizes any potential degradation. Variation of the processing parameters results in dried biopolymers of very low bulk density in different forms such as fine powders, microfibrils, fine granules or coarse granules.
The PGX Technology allows converting Ceapro’s liquid aqueous beta-glucan (BG) product into highly soluble dry microfibrils or free-flowing powder with tuneable particle size distribution. Such dry BG product has typically been difficult or not economically feasible to produce with conventional techniques such as spray drying or freeze drying. The PGX drying process can also reduce the required carbon footprint, increase product shelf-life and lead to novel high value products including functional foods, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals and pharmaceuticals.
The technology has been presented at national and international conferences and, as a result, has received excellent feedback and generated many inquiries from other industries. The technology has been licensed from the University of Alberta for all industrial applications. Ceapro has therefore built pilot scale and production scale units reaching commercial scale aqueous feed flow rates. The company thereby transformed this laboratory finding into innovative products. This work is the fruit of multidisciplinary collaborations and strong partnerships, which have led to ongoing research and several development initiatives. Several scientific articles have been recently published in peer reviewed journals.
In 2017, the Company successfully developed a new water-soluble chemical complex composed of co-enzyme Q10 and oat beta glucan (CoQ10-BG complex) as well as a new tablet of oat beta glucan that will be assessed as a cholesterol reducer in a human clinical trial.
Using PGX, the Company has conducted research on various biopolymer samples from different sources. Given the unique properties obtained with processed compounds and especially the increased surface area allowing for inclusion of other biomaterial, PGX becomes an extraordinary and unique enabling technology to produce innovative delivery systems. We expect PGX to be a game-changing technology.
Application of PGX:
- Dry aqueous solutions or dispersions of polymers derived from agricultural and/or forestry feedstocks, such as polysaccharides, gums, and biopolymers at mild processing conditions.
- Purify biopolymers by removing contaminants, impurities and odors during the precipitation and drying process.
- Micronize the polymer to a matrix consisting of highly porous fibrils or spherical particles having nano-scale features depending on polymer molecular structure.
- Functionalize the polymer matrix by generating exfoliated nanocomposites of various polymers forming fibers and/or spheres simply by mixing various aqueous polymer solutions/dispersions prior to PGX processing.
- Impregnate the polymer matrix homogeneously with thermosensitive bioactives and/or hydrophobic modifiers to tune solubility of the final polymer bioactive matrix all in the same processing equipment at mild conditions.
- Extract valuable bioactives at mild conditions from fermentation slurries, while drying the residual biomass.
PGX was invented by Dr. Feral Temelli (Professor at the Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science of the University of Alberta) and Dr. Bernhard Seifried, now the Engineering Research and Technology Director at Ceapro.
Contact us to learn more about PGX
Dr. Bernhard Seifried, Ph.D.
Director, Engineering Research & Technology