Category Archives: University of Guelph

Soy research fights food poisoning

Suresh Neethirajan - webBy Jeanine Moyer for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph ON 19 July 2016 – The latest use for soy could fight food poisoning. University of Guelph researchers are using soy extracts – isoflavones and peptides – to prevent the growth of microbial pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses.

Extracting natural agents from soy could benefit the food industry by replacing synthetic additives currently used to protect foods. The extracts have been found to combat common microbes and reduce bacterial contamination in food.

“It’s an ideal solution,” says Suresh Neethirajan, University of Guelph engineering professor and director of the BioNano Laboratory. “Soy is a safe, common food that’s been consumed for thousands of years and now we can use it to make the food we eat safer by preventing harmful bacterial growth.” Continue reading

How Canadian soybean farmers are protecting the Bruce Trail

This story comes to us from Soy 20/20

Cutting the Bruce - Image provided courtesy of Tom Hall - web
By Lilian Schaer for Soy 20/20

Niagara Escarpment – What do soybean farmers and Ontario’s famous Bruce Trail have in common? More than you might think.

The Bruce Trail, popular with hikers, runs the length of the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere reserve, from Niagara to Tobermory, Ontario. It is maintained by a team of volunteers, who use their chain saws and other equipment to manage the trail and keep it useable and safe.

All that equipment leaves an environmental footprint, though – oil residues from chain saw cutting, volatile organics from combustion, and sometimes respiratory irritation for sawyers during extended periods of cutting. Continue reading

Meals on Mars: Life in space – and on earth – relies on plants

Mike Dixon with plants growing in a controlled envrionment - webBy Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – Plants are hardier than people. It’s a lesson Dr. Mike Dixon has learned in his lab, where he grows plants under “weird” conditions. Someday, astronauts will apply his research to growing food crops in space, but today his findings are benefiting Earth.

Dixon is Director of the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility at the University of Guelph. The lab is the most advanced facility of its kind in the world, housing equipment such as hypobaric chambers that allow researchers to experiment with unusual growth conditions such as reduced atmospheric pressure. Continue reading

Sunny days: New tool helps greenhouses make light of winter

Per Aage Lysaa - webBy Lisa McLean for AgInnovation Ontario

Guelph – Each year, Canadian greenhouse growers face a challenge nearly as old as the sun itself: During the darker days of a Canadian winter, nothing grows.

Greenhouse production enters a mandatory hiatus, because there is not enough sunlight to sustain plant growth. Facilities are cleaned out. Plants are replanted.

And when the first harvest of the new season finally arrives, Canadian growers must battle for space on supermarket shelves, where produce from warmer climates has enjoyed its day in the sun.

Now, a systems integration company with facilities in Norway, China and Canada is offering a solution to Canadian greenhouse growers: LED lighting systems that can augment the sun’s rays, even when sunshine is scarce. 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