A new frontier for farmers

New frontiers are opening for farmers beyond food and feed to a vast array of industrial and consumer applications. 

Member of Parliament Lloyd Longfield, on behalf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay, announces an investment of $1 million to supporting start-up company Mirexus Biotechnologies to establish operations in Guelph and commercialize a new micro-filtration process that will directly benefit Ontario sweet corn growers.

The technology will help isolate glycogen, a key ingredient for personal care and cosmetic products, derived from sweet corn using a Mirexus-patented process. The glycogen product has an established global demand and these products will primarily be made for export. Mirexus Biotechnologies broke ground on Sept. 28 for their new plant in Guelph that will buy 4,500 more tonnes of corn from Ontario growers over the next 10 years.

“The Mirexus project is a leading example of innovation in the agriculture sector and a great success story for Guelph, because it helps local farmers while enabling an innovative start-up company to sell their cutting-edge, made-in-Canada products here in Canada and around the world,” said MP Lloyd Longfield. “This investment helps Mirexus establish their new plant right here in Guelph, which is expected to create over 70 well-paying new jobs.”

Mirexus Biotechnologies was founded by four researchers from the University of Guelph after the material PhytoSpherix was discovered as part of a collaborative project between Dr. John Dutcher and Dr. Terry Beveridge. The company currently has 18 full-time employees and expects to create 72 full-time positions in the next ten years.

“The new plant will allow us to produce our unique material for markets around the world, leading to exciting applications in natural cosmetics, high performance nutrition and new human and animal health,” said Phil Whiting, president and CEO, Mirexus Inc. “This investment by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, alongside investment from our other partners in the private sector, really sets us on the road to growth and prosperity.”

It is estimated that throughout the next 15 years the global market for biproducts will reach upwards of $200 billion dollars, with Canada making an ambitious goal of growing Canada’s agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.

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