March 11, 2024

@Terraforma Environmental

WILLIAMS LAKE – In 2022, Becky Bravi, President of Terraforma Environmental, secured a $50,000 rebate from the Northern Industries Innovation Fund.

This funding facilitated exploratory research into microbial fermentation—a burgeoning field where microorganisms are tailored to produce significant quantities of intermediaries like food supplements and pharmaceutical compounds. The primary thrust in this arena lies in the discovery and optimization of novel organisms, fostering circular economies by repurposing industrial waste into valuable commercial products.

The Williams Lake-based company stands as a pioneering force in progressive reforestation and reclamation endeavors. New solutions in reclamation strategies encompass the utilization of various tree species including pines, along with early seral plants such as ceanothus, red alder, bitter cherry, and big leaf maple. Additionally, Terraforma integrates soil microbials to steer soil development towards post-disturbance conditions.

The project entailed the identification and isolation of over 20 types of microorganisms capable of both synthesizing beneficial substances and decomposing industrial waste. These microbes were preserved at the University of Laval in Montreal for future investigations. DNA analysis was conducted to differentiate unique microbes, ascertain similarities, and determine previous discovery status, employing specialized techniques to scrutinize specific genetic components.

Terraforma conducted experiments with varied nutrient formulations to optimize microbial growth. Subsequent trials in Montreal with 18 selected microbes elucidated their growth patterns and nutrient requirements. Notably, several microbes demonstrated the ability to produce vital nutrients like EPA and DHA, presenting promising prospects for Omega-3 supplement production. Furthermore, a specific microbe exhibited potential in biofuel production, a renewable energy source.

The findings facilitated the development of controlled cultivation methods, laying a foundational framework for potential large-scale applications. Although further exploration is warranted, the project underscores the viability of commercial product development.

Becky Bravi remarked, “The next steps include testing each organism’s ability to consume specific industrial waste products and identifying the metabolites produced when and if they do so.”

The Northern Industries Innovation Fund aims to bolster diversification and expansion within traditional industries across Northern B.C. by championing innovative projects that enhance local business competitiveness.

Business Examiner Staff

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