Innovating to improve life

Red and White Canada one hunded fiftieth logo

The University of Guelph's 150 Innovations Project commemorates Canada’s sesquicentennial. Research has long been part of our culture, beginning in the late 1800s with our three founding colleges. It continues today, in what has grown to become seven colleges with more than 30 departments. Support from a wide range of sponsors helps our 800 researchers innovate and improve life for people and communities locally, nationally and globally. Follow the links provided with each entry for more information about this selection of 150 University of Guelph innovations.

Unique Livestock Research and Innovation Centre for beef in Elora

A photo of three beef cattle

The Province of Ontario - through the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, Beef Farmers of Ontario and the U of G have partnered to build beef research facilities in Elora. The new facilities will allow students and researchers alike to study genetics, cattle production, feed efficiency, food safety and beef quality with advanced technology and equipment. Photo: Beef Farmers of Ontario 

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Orlando Project: Online resource brings women’s writing forward

Collage of writers in the Orlando Project

A digital database called the Orlando Project focuses on women’s writing in the British Isles. Prof. Susan Brown is the technical lead of this project, which contains personal, biographical and professional information on more than 1,200 authors. Researchers and the public may easily search through the equivalent of 80 volumes of text using a few key search words and information filters. 

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BEETcast beats crop disease

Photo of sugar beets in the ground

Sugarbeets are subject to Cercospora leaf spot (CLS), a costly fungal disease that causes spotting on plant leafs. Prof. Ron Pitblado created an advisory called BEETcast, which was designed to help producers choose the best time (based on climate) to apply fungicide in order to protect their crops from infection. Now, Prof. Cheryl Trueman and her collaborators at the Weather INnovations Consulting LP are testing different permutations of BEETcast with a variety of fungicides to further enhance the advisory. 

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Providing the veterinary community with the tools it needs to educate, communicate, and optimize business

Image of a white cat sitting on a desk by a laptop with the LifeLearn logo at the top of the page

LifeLearn grew from the OVC’s continuing education department at the University of Guelph. In 1994, its founders teamed up to keep the popular courses going, and to evolve them with cutting-edge technology. Today, LifeLearn builds and delivers impactful web presence and client education tools, so veterinarians and veterinary corporations can inspire and empower pet owners to have happier, healthier pets. Photo courtesy LifeLearn 

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Novel product improves animal gut health

Photo of bottles of YGIA

Overall health can be compromised when harmful bacteria throw off the balance of gut bacteria in animals and humans. Microsintesis Inc. has licensed technology from the University of Guelph for a product called YGIA, to stop this bacteria from infecting the gastro-intestinal tracts of dogs. YGIA is what's called a proteobiotic, a substance that disrupts pathogen communication within cells and prevents pathogens from spreading. Researchers hope it may be adapted to improve human health, too.  Photo courtesy Microsintesis

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New Lyme disease research lab improves diagnosis and treatment

Photo of an adult deer tick

Lyme disease is caused by bacterial infections, which left untreated, can affect many body systems, including heart function. In a new Lyme disease research lab at U of G coordinated by Melanie Wills, researchers monitor patient samples to improve diagnosis and treatment methods. Researchers from the lab aim to help prevent patients from chronic suffering. 

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Living walls breathe fresh air into buildings

Photo of a living wall in a building

Pollutants in indoor air can accumulate and harm occupants’ well-being. Alan Darlington, a former researcher at U of G’s Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility, founded Nedlaw Living Walls Ltd. The company’s signature technology is Nedlaw Biofiltration, a Living Wall “Biofilter” made up of plants growing hydroponically, or without soil. The Living Walls contain plants and microbes that can degrade harmful pollutants, including formaldehyde and benzene. Living walls can also lessen building costs and improve productivity in offices. Photo: Nedlaw Living Walls 

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Helping shape the shoreline management policy

Photo of a beach

High lake levels over the past year are once again drawing attention to the hazards flooding and erosion of coastal bluffs pose for people living along the shoreline of the Ontario Great Lakes. U of G Prof. Robin Davidson-Arnott was one of the first researchers to recognize and measure the effects of underwater erosion on rates of bluff recession and he continues to explore the effects climate change and reduced winter ice cover may have on this. His work has helped shape the development of the Shoreline Management Policy in Ontario, which has been used as a management model for flooding and erosion of shorelines around the world. 

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Sweet peanuts grown in Ontario

Photo of a pile of shelled Garroy peanuts

In 1978, the University of Guelph started a program to develop a peanut that would grow in the tobacco-producing areas of Southwestern Ontario. Researchers went on to develop six varieties for Ontario peanut growers, including the OAC Ruby and OAC Garroy. The name Garroy was used as a nod to two scientists who were involved at the beginning of the research, both now deceased, Dr. Gary Ablett and Mr. Bob (Robert) Roy. The developed varieties were of the Valencia peanut type, known for its sweet flavour profile. The first commercial crop was harvested in the Fall of 1980.  Photo: Jordan Terpstra

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Where soybeans began in Canada

Close up of a soybean plant ready for harvest

Soybeans are one of Ontario’s most important crops, and they now have a growing presence in western Canada. It all began in the late 1800s with pioneering efforts by legendary plant breeder Charles Zavitz. After years of experimenting with Japanese soybean varieties, he released the Early Yellow soybean in 1898, the first commercial soybean in Ontario. This marked the beginning of the Ontario Agricultural College’s history of advancing the agricultural industry forward through plant breeding programs. Photo: Grain Farmers of Ontario 

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