Linnaeus Plant Science Inc., Saskatoon, SK
One day, in the not-too-distant future, a Canadian farmer will look out into his fields and see hectares of nylon and hydraulic fluid happily growing in the sunshine. Maybe not the actual nylon and hydraulic fluid, but oilseed crops containing castor oil as part of their composition, which is precisely what industry needs to manufacture these products. At least that’s the aim of the researchers at Linnaeus Plant Sciences Inc., a biotech company headquartered in Saskatoon and growing crops in Saskatchewan.
While most people accept vegetable oils as foods especially in the forms of canola, corn and olive oils, the idea of using plant oils as industrial chemicals is quickly becoming a reality in North America. The biggest star up to now is the castor bean, which produces the aptly named castor oil.
Improving on castor is Linnaeus’ goal. They’re doing it by developing a high-value Canadian non-food oilseed crop that is ideal for industrial chemistry. It also happens to be biodegradable, renewable, reduces C02 emissions and is superior to the castor crop, says Jack Grushcow, president and CEO of Linnaeus.