Food safety is a major concern and current approaches may take weeks to detect harmful bacteria that has contaminated food. This project involves the development of a rapid detection test kit to allow food processors to see if food has been contaminated by potentially harmful bacteria before the food is sent to market. The interns’ main objectives are to develop these rapid test kits working with our industrial partner. The kit will benefit food processors by finding contamination before food is shipped from their plants while the consumer benefit by having safer food.
Wize Monkey is currently the only maker of Coffee Leaf Tea in the world; they work in partnership with coffee producers in Nicaragua to develop alternative coffee based products. One of these is coffee leaf; a novel idea of harvesting leafs at optimal times to be used as a tea-based beverage. The leaf is harvested, dried, processed and blended to produce novelty based coffee leaf teas. Their business provides a humanitarian component providing stable work for up to 40 farm workers through-out the year to supply their product.
Potato crop suffers from several devastating diseases. Genetic resistance is the best way to manage these diseases but potato is sexually quite incompatible. A novel technology called genome editing offers genetic improvement, similar to conventional breeding, where the susceptible genes in a cultivar are cut and replaced with disease resistance genes from another cultivar, with no change to rest of the genome.
This project aims to advance local/regional food systems in Alberta, as part of a 5-year SSHRC Partnership titled Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged (FLEdGE). Local food systems generate opportunities to capture economic value (e.g., income and employment) within local communities, and can also result in indirect economic, social and environmental benefits. However, current resources within Alberta are fragmented and insufficient to meet increasing demand.
In white wines, the wine aroma plays a major role in determining wine quality and economic value. In many grape varieties cultivated in BC, the aroma makeup is built in the vineyard where key aromatics accumulate in the grapes. Irrigation and crop size adjustments are two main strategies that growers have adopted to manage fruit ripening and composition.
Pests and diseases are major problem that growers face with plants. Ecoation Innovative Solutions Inc. (EIS) is proposing a solution to this problem that turns to plants as reliable source of information about their own health and well-being. EIS will provide data from different sensory measurements for clean and infested plants. We intend to use recent advances in machine learning to build a model that automatically diagnose the plants from these measurements. The intern will work on developing the model and adapting it for different crops and cultivating environments.
Botanical extracts with the potential to stimulate crop plant growth or performance must be rigorous tested as part of new product development. Similarly, botanical extracts that control microbial growth on plant tissues (including plant pathogenic fungi, bacteria, nematodes, etc.) or that control insect or arachnid pests on plants (aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, mites, etc.) must be tested for unintended toxicity or inhibitory growth effects on plants.
Feed restriction in gestating sows is required to prevent excessive body weight gain and the associated negative consequences on lactation, locomotion, farrowing, and feed intake during lactation. Aggression and stereotypies associated with restricted feeding become a welfare and production concern when the sows are housed in groups.
Tea is often considered as a healthy drink that is rich in antioxidants and other health constituents. However, tea can become contaminated during production and pathogens such as Salmonella can persist over extended storage periods. The true risk of Salmonella linked to tea is unclear as on one side, the beverage is brewed in hot water and although contains natural antimicrobials. However, on the other hand, Salmonella can become heat resistant in the dry state that could enable survival during brewing.
Biomass combustion is used to generate combined heat and power (CHP). The combustion furnace of this study (WiseWay) has been providing heat in small scales using wood pellets. The target of this project, however, is to upgrade the stoves design (for larger scale purposes and other biomass types) and integrate it with a steam microturbine (NextGrid). The resulting system is attractive to the environment and economy because it provides heat and electricity in one package, at a cheaper price compared with oil and gas, with less pollutants emitted.