Category Archives: innovation

A genetic library for beer

Researchers work to fine-tune hop cultivar cloning and preservation

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From left to right, Max Jones, Praveen Saxena, Elena Popov, Mukund Shukla and Sherif Sherif, Gosling Institute, University of Guelph

By Matt McIntosh for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – The University of Guelph may soon house a vast new library. Not one of literature and large dusty tomes, though, but one focused on hops – a mainstay of beer making.

Spurred by the explosion of Canada’s craft beer industry, the University’s Department of Plant Agriculture has started a project to compile, save, and efficiently propagate important Canadian hop varieties.

According to Dr. Praveen Saxena, plant science professor and one of several researchers involved in the initiative, the purpose of the project is two-fold.

“There are many very unique and sometimes very rare hops that people have developed over a very long time, and they must be saved in order for people to access them,” says Saxena. Continue reading

Electronic “logbook” could nip animal disease outbreaks in the bud

barn-with-sign-webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – A local company has developed an electronic logbook system that can help the livestock industry quickly and easily track movement on and off farms – information that is absolutely critical for preventing or minimizing costly disease outbreaks.

Currently, a paper-based visitor register is the global standard for keeping track of who entered or left a farm property at what time and where they’d been previously.

A manual system is slow and leaves room for error, however, neither of which is helpful during a disease emergency, especially in the early days when spread can still be prevented or contained. Continue reading

Ontario company using bioplastics in 3D printing

inksmith-1-webBy Kelly Daynard for AgInnovation Ontario

Kitchener – As an international development student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Jeremy Hedges was always interested in companies that showed leadership in environmental innovation.

One year after graduation, this entrepreneur is the owner of Inksmith, a Kitchener-based 3D printing company rapidly becoming recognized for its leading-edge work in incorporating bioplastics in its technology.

Inksmith is a full service 3D printing bureau for 3D printing, selling 3D printers and filament as well as printing and design services. 3D printing is a technology that prints – or makes – three dimensional solid objects from a digital file, using plastics (or spools of filament) as their medium. Continue reading

Northern communities to benefit from local-made fuel initiative

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Prof. Lew Christopher

By Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

Thunder Bay – For remote Northern Ontario communities, getting fuel isn’t easy. Large quantities of petrodiesel are routinely flown long distances, at significant financial and environmental expense.

Now, a new partnership between researchers and community representatives offers a unique solution: make energy-efficient biodiesel in the community where it will be used.

The project is called the Sustainable Energy Community Initiative for Northern Ontario (SECINO) and is being led by Dr. Lew Christopher, who heads up the Biorefining Research Institute (BRI) at Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University. Continue reading

Ontario technology makes single serve coffee more environmentally friendly

mike-tiessen-left-and-atul-bali-right-webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Leamington – A unique partnership involving a local biopolymer compounding company, technology from the University of Guelph and a food packaging company could make single serve coffee pod garbage a thing of the past.

Competitive Green Technologies of Leamington is working with the world’s leading single serve coffee brand owners on a recyclable and compostable version of the single serve coffee pod.

Its key structural components are made from bio-composites using biomass like coffee chaff, a waste stream of the coffee industry. Other biomass such as corn fiber, bio-carbon and miscanthus are also used, ensuring added markets for agriculture. Continue reading