A University of Saskatchewan researcher is set to receive $2.5 million to improve processes of transforming pulses into novel food ingredients, new bioplastics, and high-value biomedical materials.

Dr. Yongfeng Ai has been awarded the funding from the federal government and province of Saskatchewan as part of Saskatchewan’s Strategic Research Initiative Program, which announced its theme of Pulse Starch Utilization in 2020.

David Marit, Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture says “the research will bring us closer to a number of the goals outlined in Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth. These include our targets to process 50 per cent of Saskatchewan pulse crops in the province and increase value-added agriculture revenue to $10 billion.”

Ai will explore new applications for Saskatchewan pulse starches, and streamline the conversion processes from newly harvested pulses, including peas, faba beans, lentils, and chickpeas, to high-value food, bioplastic, and biomedical products.

The goal is to create bioproducts that are highly biodegradable and compostable, creating a sustainable option for producing easily disposable products.

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