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.

Tastes like chicken: Enriched poultry products offer numerous health benefits

Photo of a brown chicken

Omega-3 fatty acids, which improve eye sight, immune function and some psychological disorders, are normally gained by eating fish. Now, thanks to Prof. Steve Leeson, consumers can meet their daily nutritional intake requirements with enhanced poultry products. Leeson developed innovative feed combinations that added omega-3 and other fatty acids to chickens—without altering the taste of their meat.

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Wellness @ Work initiative aims to create healthier, happier employees

The Wellness at Work logo

Improving the health and well-being of employees is the focus of Wellness @ Work, a program designed by and for U of G faculty and staff. Based on research on mental health, workplace culture, healthy lifestyles, physical environments, and organizational social responsibility Wellness @ Work will involve surveys, activities, events and challenges to improve overall well-being and performance at the U of G. 

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Varroa mites to blame for much of winter honeybee colony mortality

Photo of bees with the varroa mites on them
A third of Ontario honeybee colonies were dying of a mysterious cause in the winter of 2006 to 2007. Prof. Ernesto Guzman not only identified varroa mites as the main cause of colony die-offs, but was the first to discover how big a role the parasitic mites played in Southern Ontario—85 per cent of mortality cases were associated with the mites. Quantifying the effect of varroa mites has helped beekeepers prevent further loss and manage hives more effectively. Photo: Ricardo Anguiano
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OAC Rex proved to be tough against bean disease

Photos of the different stages of the OAC Rex, from bean to plant

Beans are an incredible source of protein, slowly digested carbohydrates and several vitamins and minerals—but like all plants, yields and quality are affected by diseases, such as common bacterial blight. OAC Rex, a white bean developed by Prof. Tom Michaels and technician Tom Smith, proved to be disease resistant while consistently out-yielding other common bean varieties. Researchers transferred disease resistant genes from wild beans into OAC Rex, and because of its unique background it was chosen by Prof. Peter Pauls to be the first Canadian bean to have its DNA sequenced. Photos courtesy Peter Pauls

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Ice cream technology course inspires industry

Photo of three people wearing lab coats and head coverings look at ice cream coming out of a faucet

For over a century, the U of G has provided the only course of its kind in Canada, which explores the ins and outs of ice cream production to manufacturers, suppliers and retailers. In one intense week, participants learn about ingredients, processing and features of ice cream from Prof. Douglas Goff. The Ice Cream Technology Short Course is constantly evolving and facilitates the transfer of research advancements in ice cream ingredients, quality and shelf stability from academia to industry.  Photo courtesy Doug Goff 

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Aeromask Equine System

Image of a horse wearing the Aeromask

The Aeromask Equine System helps horses with respiratory problems breathe easier, just as inhalers do for humans who suffer from asthma. Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) Prof. Laurent Viel and David Tesarowski developed the system in 1995, which serves as a face mask that allows medicine to be quickly administered through the horse’s nose, providing relief within 10 minutes. Image courtesy Laurent Viel 

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Anaerobic digester offers innovative source of energy

The anaerobic digester at the U of G Ridgetown Campus’ Centre for Agricultural Renewable Energy and Sustainability (CARES) is a one-of-a-kind tool. It produces renewable energy by fermenting various crops, manures, and organic wastes into biogas. The renewable energy produced by the anaerobic digester, which was completed in 2011, not only promotes a more eco-friendly environment but also ignites new ideas for innovative methods for future biorefinery, renewable energy, and environmental research. Photo courtesy Brandon Gilroyed

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Cheers to the OAC 21 barley

Photo of a field of OAC 21 barley

Canadian breweries produce incredible beer and whisky thanks to a steady supply of high-quality malting barley. In 1903, Prof. Charles Zavitz selected the OAC 21 barley for evaluation.  Known as the “grandfather of malting barley” it was released to farmers in 1910 and production quickly spread across Canada and to other countries. OAC 21 remained in production for over 50 years due to its superior yield and malting quality and its pedigree occurs in more than 200 barley varieties developed in Canada, the USA, and numerous other countries around the world. Photo courtesy Duane Falk

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Extending shelf-life with Hexanal spray

A photo of two baskets of mangoes.  On the left, mangoes that have been treated with hexanal are green, and the ones on the right that have not, are yellow.

The shelf life of fruit can be extended by up to 50 per cent with the use of an all-natural spray developed by Profs. Gopi Paliyath and Jay Subramanian. Using a natural plant product, hexanal, the spray allows fruits such as mangoes, bananas and nectarines to stay fresh for weeks, preventing premature food spoilage and food waste. This innovation is especially significant for shipping tropical fruits which take longer to be delivered to countries such as Canada. Photo courtesy Jay Subramanian

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Wine-making byproduct to treat diabetes

Photo of grapes on the vine

Resveratrol, a compound found in the skins and seeds of red grapes could improve treatment for type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. U of G Prof. David Wright discovered that resveratrol from the waste product of wine-making, improved glucose metabolism in mice when combined with an anti-diabetic drug. Using resveratrol has positive implications from health, food processing and environmental standpoints. 

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