Deploying GABA metabolism to boost plant immunity to phytopathogens: From fundamental research to practical application

Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a non-protein amino acid that has recently been discovered to play an important role in plant-pathogen interactions. In this proposal, we will comprehensively investigate the potential of GABA metabolism to boost plant immunity against fungal and bacterial pathogens using tomato and Arabidopsis as model plant systems. The effectiveness of exogenous applications of GABA will be compared with known inducers of disease resistance in laboratory and greenhouse trials, and then novel formulations will be developed and evaluated.

Swine feed efficiency improvement and meat quality co-selection using genome wide technologies

Improving feed efficiency (FE) and meat quality (MQ) are Canadian swine industry priorities that will increase sustainability and competitiveness. It is difficult to improve these traits simultaneously by traditional breeding methods due to limited knowledge of genetic interactions, limitations on animals that can be measured and the high cost of measurement. High throughput genomic technology has the potential to positively impact these issues. Our overall purpose is to develop a genomic assisted breeding program to simultaneously improve FE and MQ.

Optimizing medical marijuana: developing genetic and chemical resources to improve the quality and quantity of cannabinoid metabolites in Cannabis sativa L strains

Cannabinoids are synthesized and accumulate in Cannabis plant hairs called glandular trichomes, which are particularly abundant on female flower buds. Cannabinoid content and composition vary dramatically among Cannabis strains, with two general groupings distinguished: marijuana strains, defined by high THC and low CBD levels, and hemp strains containing low THC and high CBD (or low total cannabinoid content).

Snow Crab productivity and Management Targets under Changing Ocean Conditions

With recent annual landings values over $200 million, snow crab remains a dominant component of Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries and these snow crab stocks have recently been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as an initiative of the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP). MSC certification increases market value and access by the fishery; however, it also prescribes research and management milestones aimed at sustainability that must be met within a five year timeframe in order to maintain MSC certification.

Improving berry picking efficiency of wild blueberry harvester using precision agriculture and bio-systems modeling techniques

The overall objective of the proposed initiative is to develop a novel, automated and integrated field operation and berry harvesting system that will identify the root causes of increased loses; increase berry picking efficiency and product quality. Currently, there are 15 to 25% fruit yield losses during the harvesting with the existing commercial blueberry harvester. The wild blueberry growers set a goal increase the harvestable yields by 33%.

Comprehensive Evaluation of Animal Manure Composts and Fumigation to Improve Potato Yield in Manitoba

This project addresses two major needs of the agriculture sector in Manitoba. The shift from nitrogen based- to phosphorus-based manure management regulations has resulted in implementing liquid hog manure separation techniques as a phosphorus (P) balance strategy but it is uncertain as to how best to utilize the solid material with its very high P content. A second major need is to reduce Verticillium wilt and common scab of potato to improve potato yields.

The role of novel red yeast rice formulations to modulate lipid metabolism and reduce dyslipidemia and vascular disease in the JCR:LA-cp rat.

The primary objective of this MITACS study is to utilize a novel animal model with high blood lipids to assess the potential lipid lowering efficacy of red yeast formulations developed by SinoVeda Canada Inc. The intestine is the first-pass organ for the metabolism of dietary lipids and has an important role in whole body cholesterol homeostasis.  While the intestine is known predominantly to absorb and secrete cholesterol and contributes to faecal sterol removal, it has also been proposed to contribute to the regulation of plasma cholesterol concentration.  Funding from my NSERC Discovery

Management, host pathogenicity, and rapid identification of Magnaporthe poae, causal agent of summer patch on annual bluegrass and Kentucky bluegrass turf.

This project is designed to determine best management practices for a devastating disease of turfgrass that is currently controlled primarily by multiple fungicide applications. By assessing appropriate cultural practices aimed at reducing disease development it is our hope that we can reduce fungicide applications for this disease.

Estimation of Production Cost for Chicken Broiler Producers in Saskatchewan

The objective of this research is to estimate the total production cost and its components for chicken producers in Saskatchewan, with different technologies and size, using a survey analysis. The results of this research are expected to provide a ranking on efficiency of different technologies and scales of production (efficiency in terms of both total production cost as well as the cost of different factors like feed, medicine…). Thus, the results can indicate to what extent the chicken broiler industry in Saskatchewan is profitable and economically efficient.