Dried and redispersible oat oil emulsion powders stabilized by methyl cellulose and nanocellulose

This work aims to protect oat oil and produce new formulated products for food, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and household care applications. Specifically, nanocellulose and food-grade cellulose derivatives will be used to stabilize oat oil-in-water emulsions which will be dried into oil powders using spray drying. The powders appear dry but are >90% liquid oil and can be used in the dry form or reconstituted by hand-shaking them in water. Attempts to isolate nanocellulose from oat hulls will be undertaken as a step towards “all oat” dry oat oil powders.

Warehouse Picking Optimization

This project, working with a regional distribution company, focusses on optimizing the picking process in the warehouse to be able to distribute their products efficiently to customers. Some of the challenges include looking at how pickers are directed to pick products, reorganizing the warehouse based on reducing picking paths and reducing potential collisions with other pickers and forklifts by optimizing their path.

Warehouse Last Mile Delivery Optimization

This project, working with a regional distribution company, focusses on optimizing the transportation to deliver their products efficiently to customers. Some of the challenges include looking at the routes that delivery trucks take between the warehouse and the customer locations, optimally packing the delivery trucks to deliver more products with the same number of trucks and potentially justify the creation of intermediate distribution hubs.

Secwe´pemc-led monitoring and restoration in fire-adapted landscapes: revitalizing roles as yecwmi´nmen

This project is in partnership with the Secwepemcúl'ecw Restoration and Stewardship Society, founded by eight Secwépemc First Nations to advance Secwépemc-led restoration and sustainable stewardship of lands and resources throughout Secwepecúl'ecw (the traditional territory of the Secwépemc Nation). Guided by the Secwépemc concept of 'walking on two legs', our project advances a novel pathway of Indigenous-led monitoring and restoration in BC’s fire-affected and fire-adapted landscapes.

Optimization of Isolation and Purification of the Microbe-to-Plant Signal Bacillin 20 from Bacillus thuringiensis

Plants are always associated with a well-coordinated and beneficial community of microbes - the phytomicrobiome; this plus the associated plant forms the holobiont, the entity that provides crop yield. There is considerable communication between the phytomicrobiome and the plant, often through signal compounds. Bacillin 20 is a small protein (a peptide) produced by a Bacillus thuringiensis strain and discovered by the Smith laboratory. It improves plant ability to tolerate stress when applied at very low concentrations.

Genome-wide association study provides an opportunity to identify genetic resistance in canola varieties against Leptosphaeria maculans

Our intention is to find excellent resistance sources in the Canadian canola cultivars, and other available genotypes through field, greenhouse and lab research to enhance resistance. This will supplement the new resistance sources including novel R gene and quantitative resistance in canola against blackleg disease in Canada. It will also reduce it to become endemic and prevent epidemics, when the environmental conditions favor the pathogen in certain seasons (like the summer of 2021 when it was very dry across the prairies).

Vegetation Growth Trajectory Responses of Native and Invasive Plants Across Different Biogeoclimatic Zones within the McKay Creek Wildfire Area

Impacts of increased wildfires and wildfire intensity have impacts that go beyond the initial devastation often shown on the news. Wildfire recovery is a long, difficult, and multi-faceted undertaking, especially within the context of a changing climate. This project is intended to better understand the impacts of wildfire on invasive and native (culturally important) plants. Plants are the cornerstone of ecosystems including food systems for people and wildlife.

Evaluation of saline-tolerant forage mixtures for establishment, forage yield, and saline soil remediation

Recent estimates of agricultural land on the Canadian prairies suggest that 1 million ha are affected by moderate to severe soil salinity. These areas are not suitable for seeding annual grain crops. Perennial forages have the potential to remediate saline soils through salt ion uptake, lowering the water table, improved soil biological activity, and weed suppression. This project will evaluate establishment and remediation benefits in saline soils with perennial forage mixtures compared to annual grain crops.

Core Gut Microbiome of Commercial Black Soldier Flies in Standardized Diets

This project aims to characterize the interplay between gut microbiome community and BSF larvae in different diets and establishing a standard diet for BSF larvae. Commercialized BSF larva will be purchased and grown in a standard environment with different diets purchased from markets, collected from farmers, and artificially generated. The gut microbiome of BSF in both larval and adult stages reared on these diets will be extracted and sequenced.

The Next Generation Agriculture: Role of functional endophytic microbiome in Cannabis varieties against mycotoxigenic fungi and Powdery mildew.

Recent publications have surveyed cannabis flower microbiological communities, detecting several concerning genera like Aspergillus spp., Penicillium spp. Clostridium, Eschericia, Salmonella and Staphyloccus. There are several documented cannabis complications and even fatalities due to Aspergillosis in immuno-compromised patients. One must also recognize that strict and nonspecific microbial regulations can eliminate the use of beneficial microorganisms in agriculture and deliver unforeseen consequences in the marketplace.

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