Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

March 04, 2013 10:58 ET

Harper Government Investment Makes Flax Crop Even Sweeter for Farmers

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - March 4, 2013) - The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification and member of Parliament for Blackstrap, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced today that the Harper Government is providing an investment to Prairie Tide Chemicals Inc. (PTC) so that it can recover bioactive peptides and test them for safety for use in pharmaceuticals and neutraceuticals.

"This is a great example of innovation-finding value-added uses for what was previously considered waste," said Minister Yelich. "Creating additional revenue streams from flax will make the crop more valuable for farmers and help the agricultural sector continue to thrive."

Flax and flaxseed oil are popular health foods because they are sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The bitter taste of these products can be sweetened to make them more palatable, and this process produces a waste by-product of peptide-rich concentrates and pure peptides. These natural peptides could replace more expensive synthetic peptides that are currently used in health foods, pharmaceuticals, and skincare products.

Today's investment of more than $200,000 will help develop methods for commercial-scale recovery of flax peptides from the waste of the flax sweetening process, and then use these fractions of peptides to understand how they work and whether they are safe for entry into the bioactive market. Over the longer term, the development of safe bioactive peptides could create opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector.

"Flaxseed oil was used as a medicine by Hippocrates and is used by the healers of many civilizations," said Martin Reaney, President and CEO of PTC. "We now know that the orbitides make a significant contribution to the health benefits of flax. PTC will make new and healthier flaxseed products that will enhance the flax value chain."

Canadian farmers will benefit from technology that transforms a waste by-product into a high-value bioactive ingredient for use in consumer products. Saskatchewan farmers grow 70 per cent of Canada's flax and 20 per cent of world production. This project will give the Canadian flax industry access to neutraceutical and bioactive markets and open the way for product innovation.

This project is funded under the Agricultural Innovation Program-a $50-million initiative announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2011. This program is part of the Government's commitment to help Canadian producers benefit from cutting-edge science and technology. The Agricultural Innovation Program boosts the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies, and processes for the agricultural sector. For more information about this and other Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada programs, please visit

The new Growing Forward 2 agreement signed by ministers in September will continue to drive innovation and long-term growth in Canada. In addition to a generous suite of business risk management programs, governments have agreed to invest more than $3 billion over five years in innovation, competitiveness, and market development. For more information on this agreement, please visit

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario

    Jeff English
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz

    Martin J.T. Reaney
    President and CEO
    Prairie Tide Chemicals Inc.
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan