New markets for Ontario ginseng

An innovative residue extraction process for Ontario ginseng is poised to open up new market opportunities for the high value crop.

The new method allows for the removal of crop protection residues without affecting the structure and quality of the ginseng, a pilot project has shown.

“Crop protection residues have been one of the main trade barrier issues for Ontario ginseng,” says Doug Bradley, a ginseng grower and President of the Ontario Ginseng Growers’ Association. “With the growing market for ginseng, we wanted to find a way to extract those residues without impacting our end product.”

Ontario’s ginseng crop is grown in the fertile soils of the province’s former tobacco belt, where DDT was once used in tobacco production. Trace residues of the long-discontinued product can be detected in the ginseng root and existing extraction processes, while successful, alter the structure and quality of the ginseng. This means lower prices and fewer markets for Ontario’s ginseng farmers.

A grant from the Ontario Research and Development (ORD) program helped fund efforts by the Ontario Ginseng Growers’ Association to evaluate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of this new extraction process through a project lead jointly by researchers at the University of Ottawa and Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario.

Photo source: Ontario Ginseng Growers’ Association

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