Farming Diversity: Women’s Past, Present, and Future in Canadian Egg Farming

In 2011, Statistics Canada reported that women comprised only 25% of total farmer numbers. At the same time, an aging male farmer population is causing concern that if the farming sector does not broaden its appeal among women, there will be significant economic implications for its future development. The Egg Farmers of Canada wants to encourage more women to take up egg farming and support existing female producers in their leadership goals, but more knowledge about the systemic reasons for women’s limited participation in the industry is needed.

Development of new seaweed based plant biostimulant products and understanding their mode of action

Plant biostimulant is a new class of agricultural input that has gained importance and wide acceptance in the last few years. Acadian Seaplants Limited, a marine biotechnology company, manufactures liquid and powdered Ascophyllum nodosum extract plant biostimulants. To maintain the leadership in plant biostimulants ASL has embarked on developing new A. nodosum based biostimulatns. This project will focus on new product development by adopting novel seaweed processing technologies, creating blends of seaweed extracts and functional ingredients.

Genomic methods for herbal supplement quality assurance

It is critical for consumers to be assured that Natural Health supplements being purchased commercially are of high quality and contain the ingredients as listed on labels. For regulatory agencies to make such assurances, it is important that third-party product testing be carried out to identify the presence of the appropriate botanicals and their active ingredients. This project will begin to address the need for standardized authenticated reference materials from which appropriate quality control tests can be developed.

One-Way Degassing Valve Design, Function and Application in Coffee Packaging

The purpose of this study is to gather information relating to the one-way degassing valves used within the coffee industry in order to improve upon current designs. This will be achieved through studying the opening/closing properties of commercial valves, as well as using a model system to elucidate the effects of valve components on these properties, as a function of pressure, rate of pressure change, and temperature. The study will also investigate flow behavior of different food grade sealing fluids within the model valve system, as a function of pressure and temperature.

Impact of Lake Recovery on Agricultural Ecosystem Services

Emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels in the Eastern US, has long been identified to acidify Nova Scotia lakes. However, due to a reduction in the use of high-sulphur fossil fuels, lakes are beginning to recover which is resulting in chemical and biological changes. In Nova Scotia, lakes are often relied on to provide nutrient cycling of domestic wastewater, and agricultural wastewater and run-off. However, it is unknown what effect lake recovery will have on nutrient cycling.

Mathematical modeling of B-vitamin supply in dairy cows

The B vitamin requirements of cattle were traditionally satisfied via rumen microbial synthesis. However, the B vitamin demands of the modern high producing dairy cow now exceed the synthesis rate by rumen microbes, leading to sub-optimal milk production and efficiency. An increased understanding of dietary factors driving ruminal synthesis and use of B vitamins will help identify when supplementation will benefit the cow. Although B vitamin kinetics in the dairy cow have not previously been modelled, data on concentrations and flows are available from extant sources.

Point of Care Testing for Food Safety: Development of Rapid Assays for Salmonella and Campylobacter

Food safety is a major concern and current approaches may take weeks to detect harmful bacteria that has contaminated food. This project involves the development of a rapid detection test kit to allow food processors to see if food has been contaminated by potentially harmful bacteria before the food is sent to market. The interns’ main objectives are to develop these rapid test kits working with our industrial partner. The kit will benefit food processors by finding contamination before food is shipped from their plants while the consumer benefit by having safer food.

Characterizing phytochemical content of bioactive coffee leaf materials for use in coffee tea leaf beverages

Wize Monkey is currently the only maker of Coffee Leaf Tea in the world; they work in partnership with coffee producers in Nicaragua to develop alternative coffee based products. One of these is coffee leaf; a novel idea of harvesting leafs at optimal times to be used as a tea-based beverage. The leaf is harvested, dried, processed and blended to produce novelty based coffee leaf teas. Their business provides a humanitarian component providing stable work for up to 40 farm workers through-out the year to supply their product.

Cisgenic AG704.10 potato cultivar with enhanced late blight resistance and mineral bioavailability

Potato crop suffers from several devastating diseases. Genetic resistance is the best way to manage these diseases but potato is sexually quite incompatible. A novel technology called genome editing offers genetic improvement, similar to conventional breeding, where the susceptible genes in a cultivar are cut and replaced with disease resistance genes from another cultivar, with no change to rest of the genome.

Scaling up regional food systems in AB

This project aims to advance local/regional food systems in Alberta, as part of a 5-year SSHRC Partnership titled Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged (FLEdGE). Local food systems generate opportunities to capture economic value (e.g., income and employment) within local communities, and can also result in indirect economic, social and environmental benefits. However, current resources within Alberta are fragmented and insufficient to meet increasing demand.

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