When it became apparent that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was coming to Canada, the Laboratory Services Division at the University of Guelph followed its emergency preparedness plan to ensure services could continue in the event of staff illness or supply chain disruption.
Showcasing the success of Partnership programs and research
Beans and other legumes are vital, affordable, nutrient-dense keys to reducing risk of disease, such as obesity and diabetes. That’s especially true for Ontario’s aging population—in Canada, a quarter of all citizens are 65 years or older and naturally prone to health challenges.
To effectively promote the benefits of beans, researchers set out to benchmark and encourage bean consumption in older adults.
Prof. Keith Warriner is a food scientist, but when he heard about the shortage of N95 masks for front-line health-care workers battling COVID-19, he saw an opportunity to contribute.
Treating sick cows is never fun, for either the animal or the farmer. Just ask dairy producer Brad Hulshof. While he’s in the barn tending an animal, everything else he has to do around the farm takes a back seat. Plus, it’s costly—producers like Hulshof invest about $1,800 in life’s usual necessities (particularly feed) from the time a calf is born, up until the animal calves in turn and starts producing milk. Add the cost of extraordinary veterinary treatment to the mix, and that number can climb appreciably.
Hidden in plain sight—if that’s even possible, with Ontario’s bustling Highway 400 cutting through it—is one of North America’s most influential vegetable field research facilities, the Government of Ontario’s Bradford Muck Crops Research Station.
As field research stations go, it’s hidden because it’s relatively small. At just four acres, it’s about the size of four football fields.
Being a carbon footprint-conscious dairy farmer improves the planet and farm profitability, say University of Guelph researchers. They’ve determined that environmental best practices, such as manure management, also improve producer profit margins.
Research associate Susantha Jayasundara and Prof. Claudia Wagner-Riddle, School of Environmental Sciences, collected production data from dairy farms across Ontario and classified them as having a high or low carbon footprint.
The most sophisticated sustainable livestock production research centre in Canada officially opened today. At the Ontario Beef Research Centre, University of Guelph researchers will hone the latest technologies in health, welfare and production to benefit the province’s 6,800 beef farms and others across Canada.
Veterinary drugs and pesticides detection in food tested at the U of G Agriculture and Food Lab (AFL) has been improved through a new method that increases the number of detectable compounds in samples, while simultaneously using a more environmentally friendly compound to reduce the impact of volatile emissions.
The labour-intensive task of harvesting and pruning has become a challenge for greenhouse vegetable growers, making up to 30 per cent of their overall costs.
Can robots help?
Prof. Medhat Moussa, School of Engineering, thinks so. He’s developing a robot system he hopes will be able to harvest, package and de-leaf greenhouse crops without assistance from humans. A prototype is currently being put to the test by harvesting tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers—Ontario’s main greenhouse crops—in Leamington greenhouses.
One of the greatest challenges of big data for researchers is the sheer volume of information generated by the rapidly expanding number of studies on any given subject. Another is the wide range of conclusions at which seemingly similar studies arrive. For example, consider the many conflicting reports about the benefits or hazards of a particular food or ingredient, depending on which study is quoted.