Impact of new emerging Fusarium strains on mycotoxins in Ontario

Fusarium graminearum is a fungus that causes disease in corn, wheat, barley and oat. Not only do these diseases affect yield, but the fungus produces toxins that helps it gain access to the plant. These mycotoxins are harmful to humans and livestock and are regulated in the grain trade. Left unchecked, contaminated grain and yield losses can cost producers and the grain trade $ millions in epidemic years. Originally in Ontario we had one strain of F. graminearum that produced the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) using 15-A-deoxynivalenol as a precursor molecule. We called these 15 ADON strains.

Development and Optimization of NanopectTM–Based Nano-Fertilizers for Crop Production and Improving Food Quality

Modern agriculture relies heavily on chemical fertilizers to provide nutrients for crop production. These management practices are expensive, inefficient, unsustainable in the long-term, and require large amounts of resources. Using nanotechnology to create innovative nano-fertilizers (NF) is a potential solution that negates the negative aspects of using solely chemical fertilizers. Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of miniscule particles to engineer products for specific purposes. In agriculture, the production of NFs is a novel area of research and the focus of this project.

Exploring further possibilities and advancements of using bio-control entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) for the management of insect pests in Alberta (# 2021F119R)

Crop losses and the economic impact caused by canola insect pests is substantial, depending on outbreak conditions. With the predicted de-registration of two key insecticides, canola producers are potential subject to greater economic losses. Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs), also known as predatory nematodes, are commercially available biocontrol agents for the management of insect pests. Advancement in application technology has improved their biocontrol efficiency against insect pests. In this project we propose to further explore EPN use against root maggots and cutworms.

Applying in vitro flowering systems to increase the efficiency of cultivar selection and propagation in cannabis

Since legalization, cannabis has become a multibillion dollar industry and is now one of our most economically important crops in Canada. A unique aspect of the cannabis industry is that the market demands are continually evolving and there is a constant need for new cultivars with unique chemical and flavour profiles. This is an expensive and time-consuming process, but will play an important role in the long-term success of Canadian cannabis producers.

Optimized lighting and defoliation strategies to increase yield and chemical uniformity in Cannabis sativa

Cannabinoid uniformity plays an important role on the quality and marketability of cannabis. Several strategies to optimize cannabinoid uniformity have not been extensively researched to date. The objective of this study is to evaluate lighting and defoliation strategies to maximize yield and uniformity of cannabinoids throughout cannabis plants. A randomized block design will be used to separate treatments. Each table will contain four lighting treatments which include HPS overhead, LED overhead, HPS with LED interlight and LED with LED interlight treatments.

Formulation and Product Testing of Seafood Compost

This research explores improving soil health through the composting of waste products abundant in NL. As a result, soil health and fertility will be improved, increasing crop yields and thus food security in the province. The partner organization will gain a marketable product developed from feedstock ingredients to a finished soil amendment with supporting data that supports its use as crop growth enhancement.

Discovering causal variants controlling ripening period, phenolic content and softening during storage in apple (Malus domestica).

Apples are among Canada's most valuable fruit crops, and the improvement of apple varieties is crucial for the success of the industry. Breeding apples is expensive and time consuming, requiring decades of investment. A better understanding of the relationship between genetics and fruit traits will allow for more efficient breeding. Current apple breeding techniques make use of genetic markers, but these markers are of limited use.

Optimizing crop production while minimizing environmental nutrient losses using struvite: An assessment of different mixtures of readily soluble fertilizers and less soluble struvite phosphorus recovered from wastewater

Agricultural runoff transports nutrients such as phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) that act as environmental pollutants in fresh and coastal marine ecosystems. Both chemical fertilizers and animal manure release substantial P and N to runoff and leaching despite current conservation efforts. While recent research has shown that struvite could be a viable P supplement for inorganic fertilizers, it is unclear if and how this may impact environmental losses.

Development and Evaluation of Interventions for Farm Machinery Operators to Improve Musculoskeletal and Cognitive Health

Producers and farm workers are exposed to whole-body vibration (WBV) on a regular basis when operating farm machinery. The short-term effect of WBV include cognitive impairment and musculoskeletal disorders, such as low back pain. To aid in promoting worker cognitive and musculoskeletal health, rest and/or activity breaks may provide relief from these hazards and can be implemented immediately without cash investment. For these breaks to be appealing, they must be effective in reducing adverse health effects from WBV exposure, and must be feasible for field implementation.

Community Energy Profiles and the CASES Toolkit

The Community Energy Profiles and the CASES Toolkit project is part of a larger partnership involving 15 communities and 16+ private and public sector partner organizations in 4 countries. Co-led by Drs. Greg Poelzer and Bram Noble, the project includes 7 interns with interest in the areas of energy policy, impact assessment, economics, energy systems modeling, social innovation, and capacity building with Indigenous communities, industries, and governments. The benefits of the internships to our Canadian partner organizations are multiple and extend beyond the internships.