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Bio-Matrix Winter 2009

Bio-Matrix Winter 2009



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Published by: Justin on Dec 18, 2008
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w w w. g h b n . o r g
Golden HorseshoeBiosciences Network
Ontario wineries are drinking in savings in their energyusage by embracing responsible environmental policies.Their eco-ethiquette means that thinking green isreaping long green. And even the animals in somevineyards are getting into the act.Wineries increasingly see eco-stewardship makesnatural sense and also dollars and cents. NarelleMartin, a consultant to the Wine Council o Ontario’senvironmental plan, says it “was made clearthroughout development o the program since 2003that good environmental practice is good business”.“It is now a driving political issue, even withintoughening economic conditions recently,” sayswinemaker Ron Giesbrecht, o Henry o Pelhamwinery. Energy champions, such as Tawse, Stratus,and Flat Rock wineries, are among the key driversalong Niagara’s green roads.Wineries are doing energy audits, investing in newstrategies and equipment, and developing “an openculture o energy conservation,” says Giesbrecht. Hisown company is insulating lines and tanks, puttingin new boilers and compressors, and doing below-ground construction to reduce cooling and heatingcosts or wine storage and aging.The movement even has movers and shakers romthe animal kingdom. At Southbrook and Featherstonewineries, sheep strip o low-hanging vine leaves toincrease sun exposure or grapes. O course, they leavebehind their own ertilizer. At Rosewood, bees eed onwildowers, clover and orchards and produce honeyused in the making o mead at the Beamsville estate.Like other industries, wine producers began gettinghit with rising electricity, natural gas and other powercosts early this decade. OCETA – the Ontario Centre orEnvironmental Technology Advancement – developed anenergy benchmarking and best practices project in concertwith the wine council.That led in 2006 to the report, Sustainable WinemakingOntario: Energy Best Practice or Wineries. The study oundthat smaller wineries were less energy-efcient thanmedium and larger acilities. It also ound that, as a generalrule, processing o the grape crop consumed the most energy,ollowed by space heating and cooling within buildings.Energy is integral to winemaking. Controlling temperaturesduring ermentation is a big energy user and varies romacility to acility. Rerigeration in making and storing premiumwine may occupy 50 per cent o all energy consumed.The 2006 best practice study was ollowed in 2007 by anenvironmental charter, touching on wastewater euent andtreatment and renewable energy systems, among other things.The charter also oered pointers on the LEED program – orLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design – thatocuses on reducing environmental impact. The Stratus wineryin Niagara-on-the-Lake was way out-ront here: it became, in2005, the world’s frst winery to gain LEED green certifcation.Stratus uses deep geothermal wells to transer heat to androm the ground and relies on a gravity system or grapesorting and crushing (eliminating or minimizing the needor pumps). Stratus believes LEED-certifcation details havereduced energy needs by an estimated 40 per cent.Tawse also uses gravitational ow and has a geothermalsystem at its Vineland acility. At Flat Rock, they’ve gonegreen – literally. Insulating grass sod on the roo thatoverhangs wine barrels and ermentation tanks (see relatedstory on page 2) helps reduce heating and cooling costs.Henry o Pelham and Southbrook Vineyards are amongoperations that have developed natural flter channels tohandle runo water. Such management plans make use o abio-swale, a vegetated open channel designed to attenuateand treat stormwater drainage, and a wetland to providetertiary treatment o wastewater.
GHBN Blog –The voices ofInnovation
The Golden HorseshoeBiosciences Network Blog (www.ghbn-blog.blogspot.com) is therst Regional InnovationNetwork Blog to startup in Ontario. The blogeatures posts by adiverse group o authors,and they ocus on areaso innovation, networking,biosciences, and otherrelated elds.We have already gotten anumber o GHBN authorssubmitting their posts, andtogether with this we havethese authors eaturedon the GHBN homepage(www.ghbn.org). I youhave ideas on current newsrom Biotech, Pharma,Agriculture, or otherrelated elds that you eelshould be shared with thepublic, become a GHBNBlog Author by sending usa ew articles or ideas toghblog@ghbn.org.
Inside –
 A nose forenvironmentalexcellence
[page 2]
Seeding thecommunity farm
[page 4]
Two careersin search ofa cure
[page 5]
 Winter 2008-09
 volume 2
issue 4
 of Niagara’s wineries
w w w. g h b n . o r g
 A nose for environmental excellence
Bottling aneconomicharvest
The wines areimpressive but theOntario winery andgrape-growing sector’simpact is just assubstantial. That’s theconclusion o a KPMGstudy, released last all,that shows the value-added impact o theindustry to the province’seconomy is about $530million.The study ound thewine industry supportedabout 7,000 jobs during2007. KPMG alsoconcluded that, or eachlitre o Ontario winepurchased by residents,the value-added returnto the provincialeconomy is $8.48– combined incomeor labour, businessand government– versus 67 cents alitre o oreign winesconsumed in 2007.
It commands the highground, poised like aspace-age actoryon steel stilts atopthe escarpment.This distinctivelook almost masksthe eco-innovationthat is a hallmarko Flat Rock Cellars. Avisitor sees the six-sidedbuildings and connecting bridge, not so much thepond out back or the grass sod that sits on oneroo o part o the winery.But the pond and sod are among key designeatures that have shaped the Jordan-area acility.Beneath the pond water are some o the almost5,000 metres o glycol-flled pipe that act as ageo-thermal heat and cold transer system. Belowthe six or so inches o sod is the contained spacedevoted to wine barrels and ermentation tanks.The grass not only blends into the surroundinglandscape, it acts to insulate the tank room, tolimit energy loss, and to trap carbon dioxide,identifed as one o the greenhouse gases behinddramatic climate change. It also helps stop waterruno that would otherwise send rainwatercascading onto soils below.“The act that the green roo is there is really (sowe are) not intrusive on the landscape,” says FlatRock president Ed Madronich. “We’ve tried to haveas small a ootprint rom the winery as possible.That means using anti-microbial ozone technology toclean barrels and tanks and to rinse bottles, resulting inthe use o no chemicals, such as chlorine or ammoniumcompounds, and producing only water runo.The environmental stress even comes into play with thetakeaways, the bags that visitors carry their newly boughtwines in. Flat Rock used to oer cardboard boxes, saysMadronich. Now reusable fbre bags are supplied as wellas biodegradeable plastic bags.The design insights that went into Flat Rock hadtheir beginnings in the early 2000s. That was just asthe Canada Green Building Council began dratingits audit standards or energy and environmentallysustainable buildings. So, the acility doesn’t have aLEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design– certifcation. (It was only in 2005 that nearby Stratusbecame the world’s frst LEED winery.)Madronich says Flat Rock’s environmental and energythemes are not a matter o money – he says he does nothave an estimate o energy cost-savings earned, thanksto eco-sustainable innovations – but are more “a moraland ethical thing, frst and oremost.” Ater all, the winery,he notes, exists within the escarpment, a World BiosphereReserve.Flat Rock does its grape processing via a gravity-edoperation: the ruit enters the winery at the top andmoves down through various stages, minimizing the needor pumping and handling equipment and causing lessdamage to grapes.The cellars turn out their 120,000 litres annually – keyvarietals are Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir – rom80 acres o vineyards. The Wine Spectator lauded FlatRock’s 2006 Nadja’s vineyard Riesling in its May 15, 2008issue, part o a tour by the consumer’s wine bible o theNiagara region.
w w w. g h b n . o r g
Niagara sees promise in bio-economy 
The potential is clearly there, now it’s time to assess thepromise. Niagara economic leaders are about to proceedwith an investment-marketing strategy as they continueto plan or a bio-industry cluster within the region.The marketing strategy, which will be done in 2009, isthe next step in going rom the existing Niagara embryoo bio-oriented companies and public institutions to aull-scale, critical-mass economic cluster that will createnew jobs and attract outside businesses and researchers.The investment study ollows a consultant’s report,Bioeconomy Industry Development Opportunities orNiagara, that surveyed the current state and potential othe region’s bio-inrastructure in the public and privatesectors.Big dollar fgures come with a successul bio-cluster.For example, the worldwide market or bioproductsalone is estimated to reach $150 billion US by 2050, theconsultant’s report notes. In Canada, as much as 10 percent o organic chemicals and plastics could be derivedrom biomass by 2010.“The report was helpul in terms o identiying moreo the research and development in the broadercommunity,” said Alan Teichroeb, vice-president obusiness development and services with NiagaraEconomic Development Corporation.The survey report, done by Vista Science and Technology,o Welland, ound extensive bio-research anddevelopment ongoing in both private and public sectorsbut that collaboration is limited. The report urgesnetworking and mobilizing o R & D resources, whichcould include sharing o best practices, as the wineindustry has done in Ontario.“I think awareness-building is going to be very criticalhere,” said Vista president Amy Lemay. “because I don’tthink anybody, including mysel, expected to fnd this R& D aspect as strong as it is.”The report, which is still being refned, concluded thatthe nascent bio-community needs a stronger investmentand venture capital base and ar more alignmentbetween the various players. But it notes that thereare great strengths in the amount o biomass in theregion, and its expertise in ermentation, plant genetics,biomanuacturing, biouels, and bio-energy.The region’s wineries are all about ermentation.Both Niagara College and Brock University areworking with plants and biomass. Brock plans a$90-million health and biosciences complex. TwoPort Colborne frms, Jungbunzlauer and CASCOInc., collaborate in making bio-processed products.Biolyse Pharma in St. Catharines makes paclitaxel,a cancer drug, rom the yew tree.In all, the Vista report identifes 22 Niagaraorganizations active in the bioeconomy, 18 owhich are in the private sector. Overall, morethan 80 per cent o organizations, mostly privatecompanies, were doing R & D. That knowledgebase itsel could be a draw in persuading outsidecompanies to locate in Niagara.But the rush to develop local bio-economiccommunities is headlong across Canada andaround the globe. Many areas o SouthernOntario are heavily involved in R & D, bio-product development, unctional oods,nutraceuticals, and energy-rom-waste projects.“One o the things I think Niagara has to do isto try to identiy the very unique opportunitiesthat exist . . . (but) we are somewhat behindthe curve in terms o some o the regions in thecountry and in the world,” said Lemay.Funding or Niagara’s bio-economy cluster studyis coming rom several partners, including theGolden Horseshoe Biosciences Network, androm the ederal Community Investment SupportProgram.
Mac gradgets toprecognition
McMaster PhDchemistry/biochemistrygrad Weian Zhaohas won honourablemention at a nationalsciences competition ora report on how a goldnanoparticle-detectionsystem might protectagainst and captureharmul pathogens suchas the SARS virus.Zhao’s report,Biodetection kits usinggold nanoparticle-coatedpaper, extolled the cost,fexibility and sensitivityvirtues o using goldnanoparticle-coated papercompared to currentdetection systems.The technology is parto the Sentinel BioactivePaper Network, aCanadian public-privateconsortium led byMcMaster University.The network hopesto develop paper-based systems,such as a acemask, to protectagainst, detectand deactivatepathogens.

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