Category Archives: new crops

A genetic library for beer

Researchers work to fine-tune hop cultivar cloning and preservation

from-right-to-left_sherif-sherif_mukund-shukla_elena-popov_praveen-saxena_max-jones-web

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

Ontario company takes world’s first plant-based carbon black substitute to market

atul-bali-holding-carbon-black-filler-web By Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Leamington – Using specially grown crops and agricultural plant wastes, a local company has commercialized the world’s first plant-based substitute for carbon black.

Black plastic gets its colour from carbon black, a co-product of oil refining that is both non-renewable and deemed a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency on Research on Cancer.

There has been no alternative until now, with Competitive Green Technologies’ development of BIOBLAKR®, a bio-carbon using patent-pending technology invented at the University of Guelph’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre. Continue reading

Locally grown okra could soon be an option in Canada

okra - webBy Kelly Daynard for AgInnovation Ontario

Vineland, Ontario – It’s no secret that there’s a growing ethnic population of Canadians who have preferences for foods from their home countries. That fact brings with it unique opportunities for farmers to produce crops that haven’t traditionally been grown locally.

Okra is one such crop.

Over six million kilograms of okra is imported into Canada every year and the demand climbs annually. India is the top producer of the world’s okra, growing more than 70 per cent of the global crop. Other big producers are Nigeria, Sudan, Iraq and Pakistan. Continue reading

The discovery that could transform Canada’s wine industry

End of Season growth - Sharifi - webBy Lilian Schaer for AgInnovation Ontario

Peterborough, Ontario – Although Canada is home to internationally award-winning wines, the cold winters and short growing season are a constant challenge. The solution is one that has never been tried with wine grapes before until now: moving production indoors.

That’s what Dr. Mehdi Sharifi, a Canada Research Chair in sustainable agriculture and professor at Trent University’s School of the Environment, has been working on.

And it could change the entire future of Canada’s wine industry, including dramatically expanding organic wine production. Continue reading

Demand on the rise for Ontario-grown quinoa

Jamie Draves Quinoa Field - webBy Kelly Daynard for AgInnovation Ontario

Rockwood ON 26 July 2016 – It’s been a whirlwind few years for Jamie Draves. Six years ago, the president and chief executive officer of Katan Kitchens began researching ways to successfully grow quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) in Ontario.

Since then, production is increasing, demand continues to exceed supply, and his efforts achieved a new level of fame after a successful appearance on CBC’s The Dragons’ Den, a reality show that gives Canadian entrepreneurs the chance to pitch ideas to a panel of venture capitalists. Continue reading