On December 12, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, announced an investment of $41 million for genomics research under Genome Canada's Genomics Applications Partnership Program (GAPP). Over $23 million will be invested in genomics in Québec, including $5.4 million through Génome Québec.
Congratulations to McGill’s Professor Saji George (Department of Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry) who received over $900,000 in funding for a partnered project with BioSun Products, entitled, “Nano-enabled Biostimulant for Sustainable Agriculture: Optimizing Scale-up Parameters through Genomic Approaches for commercialization”. The total investment of $916,787 includes $316,261 from Genome Québec and $300,238 from Genome Canada. The project is also receiving $300,288 as an in-kind contribution from Biosun Products, which develops innovative, organic products.
These investments will accelerate commercialization and increase the real-world applications of genomics research. The health, agri-food and environment sectors remain key areas for genomic innovation. The GAPP was created to promote partnerships between industry end users, public end users, and university researchers. This program helps to harness the potential of economics to increase the competitiveness of key sectors of the Québec economy.
Feeding a growing global population:
Feeding an estimated global population of 9.1 billion people in 2050 requires raising overall food production by 70% between 2005/07 and 2050. The increasing global demand for food forces the agriculture sector to heavily use fertilizers and pesticides for increasing crop protection and productivity. Since this use is unsustainable and irreparably damages the environment and humans, there is a demand for developing cost-efficient, high-performing and eco-friendly biostimulants. Worth around US$393M in 2020, the North American biostimulant market is estimated to be growing annually by 11.29% and will surpass US$4B by 2025.
The project led by Prof. George will use -omics technologies to lower manufacturing costs and drive commercialization of BioSun’s innovative biostimulant, based on newly identified biologically active compounds (lipopeptides) from Bacillus velenzensis strain OB9 encapsulated in halloysite nanoclay (nOB9). When tested in yellow beans and tomato, the Canadian-made biostimulant prototype showed improved productivity under field conditions. The aim is to introduce this new product to the Canadian market, starting with Québec and Ontario, ultimately helping to lower Canada’s carbon footprint and increasing its share of global agri-markets.
For more information on the program, click here.