Category Archives: health

High value pharming: Is the future of farming measured in components?

WheatStarch03-1000x20 (1) - web
By Lyndsey Smith for AgInnovation Ontario

Ottawa – When you get right down to it, farmers don’t raise grain or meat. Really, they produce three things: protein, carbohydrates, and fat.

As luck would have it, humans need those things, in varying quantities, for nutrition.

If we look more closely at one of those three things — protein — we discover that this particular component is so much more than a steak or part of a grain.

Proteins are actually amazing things — they can be enzymes, health promotants, and even medicine. Insulin is protein. Lactoferrin is protein. Humans need protein not just as nutrition in the form of hydrolyzed amino acids, but also for health as protein therapeutics. Continue reading

Ontario farmers find sweet success with birch syrup

Laura, Konrad, Adam, Jake, Bert, Kathy and Roxy (the dog) Beilke - web

From left, Laura, Konrad, Adam, Jake, Bert, and Kathy Beilke and Roxy the dog.

By Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Moorefield, Ontario – What began as Bert and Kathy Beilke’s passion to grow food and connect with nature more than 20 years ago, has since turned into an innovative new food product.

Golden birch syrup is a semi-sweet flavoured syrup made from sap of yellow birch trees on the Beilkes’ Wagram Springs Farm in Wellington County near Moorefield.

“Still a new product in Ontario, birch syrup offers so many unique opportunities,” says Kathy. “It’s often used as a natural sweetener or ingredient and has become very popular with our customers.” Continue reading

Growing local grains, one seed at a time

Bread and grain close up - webBy Kelly Daynard for AgInnovation Ontario

Winchester, Ontario – In recent years, the local food movement has taken Canada by storm. There’s lots of interest by consumers in sourcing local products and in knowing the farmers who grow them. But in Shelley Spruit’s opinion, there has always been a missing ingredient.

Spruit is a farmer who professionally trained as a baker at culinary schools in British Columbia and Vermont. For many years, she and her husband Tony operated the Winchelsea Farms banquet hall.  Her training taught her that all good baking starts with good flour –and she was frustrated that she couldn’t find locally produced flour that met her quality standards.

They added to their original 200 acre property when they purchased an additional 50 acres, calling it Against the Grain Farms. In addition to growing conventional crops, they also began experimenting with alternatives, planting seeds from corn and barley varieties not traditionally grown in Ontario.  Continue reading

New research reins in deadly equine disease

foals - Jolene Perdue webBy Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – Researchers at the University of Guelph have made an equine breakthrough that can change the health of newborn foals.  Led by John Prescott, pathobiology researcher and former professor, the research team identified an uncommon, but deadly bacterium that causes necrotizing enteritis disease in very young foals, and has already created a vaccine for further research.

For years, an unknown strain of this intestinal bacterium has been killing foals within the first week of life. Prescott and his team have worked for several years to understand the cause of necrotizing enteritis in foals and recently identified the bacterial agent and its deadly toxin, which they have called NetF.

“We’ve identified this disease strain that multiplies among naturally occurring gastrointestinal bacteria and releases a toxin that damages the intestines of newborn foals and can kill them,” says Prescott. Continue reading

New nano sensor detects dairy cattle diseases quickly, easily

Device ready to move to commercialization
By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Suresh GryphSens Pic1A new handheld instrument can quickly and easily detect two significant diseases in dairy cattle before the animals become sick.

Invented at the University of Guelph by engineering professor Suresh Neethirajan and researchers in the BioNano Laboratory, the nano biosensor uses small test strips to indicate whether a cow has ketosis or metabolic disease by analyzing a small volume of blood or milk.

Nanosensing diagnostic platforms for biomarkers of ketosis and metabolic disease have been developed, which help to rapidly identify elevated levels that can indicate the presence of either of the diseases in animals that appear healthy.

Currently, blood samples must be taken and sent to a lab for analysis, a process that is costly and can take five to seven days to return a diagnosis. Continue reading