Ahiflower, a plant with promising health properties, is being test-grown on P.E.I.
The company Technology Crops International has contracted farmers to grow about half a hectare of Ahiflower. The seeds contain a type of omega-3 fatty acid that's believed to be more easily absorbed than what's available from other plant sources, such as flax seed.
Omega-3 helps prevent heart disease, and the most common dietary source is seafood.
"There's an increasing demand for omega-3s in the marketplace, and in particular with omega-3s that are derived from crops as opposed to fish," said Steve Howatt, VP of business development for Technology Crops.
"Crops are seen to be more sustainable, therefore we have embarked on developing some new plant-derived sources."
TechCrops is partnering on the first human trial of ahiflower oil to prove the health benefits. The result of that research at the University of Moncton is expected to be published this fall.
TechCrops hopes to commercialize the crop in P.E.I. within the next couple of years.