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.
Historically, research has been a long-term investment. Whether the subject was health care, engineering or agri-food sciences, advancements have been mostly incremental. Over the long term, the small but steady gains have brought us to current yields, efficiencies and knowledge that were previously unimaginable.
The provincial government will invest up to $713 million toward a unique agreement between the University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to further discovery and innovation and position Canada as a world leader in agri-food.
Using fossil fuels to heat greenhouses is expensive and environmentally unsustainable. But how about heating them with plant waste from the greenhouses themselves?
That’s what Prof. Animesh Dutta, School of Engineering, is working towards. He’s producing a fuel-flexible boiler (heater) that can use a variety of non-conventional, yet readily available fuels in an efficient way.
One such fuel is called biocarbon. It’s made from plant matter – leaves, stems and vines of greenhouse plants – that is abundant in greenhouses, is costly to dispose of and has no resale value.
Prof Beverley Hale has been appointed U of G’s new associate vice-president research (agri-food partnership).
The 2016 Agri-Food Yearbook Making an Impact, highlighting the OMAFRA-U of G partnership, won the gold award in the category for general periodicals from the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation.
Plants such as milk thistle have been used for millennia to treat disease and promote good health. Now a Guelph-based start-up is enlisting plants to make medicine, and its choice of plants is one not traditionally associated with good health.
PlantForm Corp., established in 2008, uses tobacco plants to manufacture monoclonal antibodies used to treat a host of diseases, ranging from cancer to HIV.
Every little bit helps when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and researchers at the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Sciences have some suggestions about how to help.
For example, they’ve found that completely emptying livestock manure storage systems is a relatively simple but effective method of reducing methane emissions to less than half of those produced by partially emptied systems.