Mitigating the impact of COVID-19
by Sommerfeld, Katrin
Phytonix Corporation (Px) is a North Carolina start-up with a research and development arm in Halifax that is developing processes that produce sustainable chemicals directly from carbon dioxide and the sun.
One of the company’s patented process employs cyanobacteria to produce butanol in a commercially viable and sustainable manner. During the process the cyanobacteria use carbon dioxide to produce the butanol, an industrial chemical which has many applications such as a solvent, paint, as biofuel or for products in the pharmaceutical industry to name a few. While still in the development and scale-up stage this process has the potential to utilize carbon dioxide emissions and thereby reduce carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere.
When COVID-19 hit, Phytonix found themselves without a research lab during a very critical phase of their research. Their research space abruptly closed, was unavailable.
Through their Nova Scotia connections, Michael Weedon, President and Director of Phytonix, was connected with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), who connected them with Acadia’s Laboratory for Agri-Food and Beverages (ALAB).
ALAB is an analytical lab at Acadia University that provides state of the art research and analytical services to the wine, craft beverage and food industries. Deemed an essential service, ALAB has remained open throughout the pandemic and therefore was able to quickly develop a work plan with Phytonix and support their critical research with space, equipment and additional technical expertise. The project has been very successful and both parties are looking to continue the work beyond the original plan.
“We are most grateful for ALAB and the research team for their professional, prompt and responsive support to Phytonix at a critical time, enabling us to conduct essential research during the COVID outbreak. We felt we were up a creek without a paddle. And thank you ACOA for the introduction in our time of need.” Michael Weedon