Natural Health Product and Functional Food

The Canadian Natural Health Product and Functional Food Industry is a leading contributor to global innovation and growth.


Natural Health Products and Functional Foods

The Bioresource and Food Processing Research Unit (BFPRU wing) at Agri-Food Discovery Place works closely with academic and private sector partners to develop new products/ingredients, and on process development and scale up of processes as required. This research unit has 1055 square meters (11,356 square feet) of area housing eight (8) specialized and specially equipped laboratories.

The BFPRU wing is equipped for applied research related to Natural Health Product development, Functional Food/Ingredients and Animal Feed research. This state-of-the-art facility includes areas for solvent processing, dry and wet extraction/separation, a sample preparation lab and food application processing.

The solvent processing lab offers a unique opportunity due to its size, versatility and design to support application work using organic solvents. Past applications have included de-fatting of oil seed extracts, extraction and separation of natural plant materials for use in the production of Natural Health Products/Ingredients using food grade ethanol and hexane.

Dry Processing Suite

This processing unit is equipped with two Hosakawa mills, a Buhler mill, Fitz mill, Swaco sieves with access to a particle size analyzer.

Wet processing Suite

Work relates to solid/liquid extraction/separation of aqueous-based systems. The equipment includes various kinds of separators and clarifying centrifuges that are available for optimal processing of fibrous organic material and suspensions or slurries.

Key equipment includes a hydro cyclone, decanter and disc-stack centrifuges, a spray dryer and support stainless steel tanks and centrifugal pumps.

Solvent Processing Suite

The solvent processing lab is specially designed with grounding and enhanced air flow of 15 – 18 full changes per hour compared to a typical lab having only 10. The lab houses two solvent extractors, a 100L rotovap, ultra-filtration, and various filters.

This equipment has electrical motors, which are intrinsically safe or pneumatic or mechanical support equipment to safe guard against organic solvent usage. The room is electrical rated as a Class I, Zone 2, and Group C &D Lab. Some refer to the classification as Class I, Division II.

To date the lab has worked on various applications of solvent extraction of active components from materials such as herbs, natural plant materials and oilseeds etc.

Sample Preparation and Research Lab

This lab facilitates the analytical and lab testing support to crop wing activities. The Sample preparation lab has a spectrophotometer, HPLC, GC, mini centrifuge, balance etc.

This lab also houses the sub/supercritical fluid technology program, involving supercritical carbon dioxide and sub/supercritical water. Lab-scale units focus on different unit operations of extraction, fractionation, reactions, membrane separation and particle formation. The main target is extraction and fractionation of lipids and bioactive components as well as developing delivery systems for functional ingredients. In addition, phase equilibria unit allows research into fundamental aspects of solubility and phase behavior.

Food Application and Processing Laboratories

The Food Application Lab facilitates food processing and fresh meat science applied research. This lab is also used for teaching purposes for the undergraduate Food Science and Technology program.

The Food Application Processing Laboratory houses a Wenger X-115 single screw extruder and dryer/cooler. This supports a new platform technology at AFDP and is the only single-screw extruder in Western Canada. The technology supports a wide array of functional ingredients, following dry and wet fractionation and solvent extraction into pet food, human food and animal feed.

Our collaborators:

  • Dr. Feral Temelli
  • Dr. Heather Bruce
  • Dr. Lingyun Chen
  • Dr. Marleny Aranda Saldana
  • Dr. Thava Vasanthan
  • Dr Ruurd Zijlstra
The equipment available for Natural Health Products and Functional Foods contain a wide variety of equipment. Many of the equipment available are design to work with 20L-500L of solvents in safe and controlled environment. The equipment can be interlinked to create a process stream if needed. For more information on equipment available check out the platform’s equipment. Check out the Unit's equipment