Funded Projects

The Seeding Food Innovation program was created to catalyze the development of trans-disciplinary research that address sustainable food and health challenges that will both impact Canadians and are of global concern. The program provides short-term grants of up to $250,000 as seed funding for novel, translational research projects.


SEEDING FOOD INNOVATION – AWARDED PROJECTS - 2019

Changing-climate resilient and multiple disease resistant cisgenic potato cultivars through genome editing

Grantees: Prof. Ajjamada Kushalappa, Dr. Maher Alsahlany and Mr. Andre Gagnon
Description: The farm gate value of Canadian potato production is about one billion dollars per year; for USA its much more. Potato diseases, such as late/early blights, scab and wilt, annually cause yield losses of about 15%, and upto 80% under favorable weather; changing climate. In addition, some pathogens reduce food quality by contaminating tubers with mycotoxins and enzymes. Genetic improvement of cultivars is the best mitigation strategy but it is challenging due to sexual incompatibility in potato. The Kushalappa-lab has identified several R genes with multiple disease resistance. » More Info


Intelligent Orchards: Redefining the Production and Management of Tree Fruits

Grantees: John Cline, Andrew Gadsden, Mohammad Biglarbegian, Amanda Green, Haipeng Xie and Andres Hurtado
Description: We live in a time with rising costs of production, less available and increased labour costs to harvest our agricultural crops, competition for limited arable land, and a changing climate. Global trade issues and food insecurity cause us to reflect on how Canadians will feed themselves as well as other countries that depend on our food. Fostering innovative tools for farmers to remain economically and environmentally sustainable is key to prevent disruptions in our food system and to maintain food sovereignty. » More Info


2020 Bee Vectoring-An Innovative Collaboration to Ecologically Intensify Bio-control in Strawberry Production

Grantees: Ms. Dorothy Susan Chan, Prof. Peter Kevan, Dr. Katarina Jordan, Mr. Jim Chaput, Mr. Wayne Adams, Mr. Kevin Schooley, Dr. Sarah Hargreaves, Ms. Anne Hayes and Mr. Mike Dimmock
Description: In flowering crops like strawberry, growers are in the unenviable position of having to control pests with chemical pesticides that may harm the bees they depend upon for pollination. To protect bees, respond to consumer demand for pesticide-free food, and reduce pest resistance, strawberry growers are increasingly looking for alternatives to pesticides such as bio-control agents. However, bio-control agents do not act as quickly as chemical pesticides, are costly, and must be applied repeatedly. What is gained in pesticide reduction maybe lost in increased fuel and other costs. » More Info


Effector-Enabled Mining of Wild Plants for Novel Crop Immunodiversity

Grantees: Prof. David Guttman, Prof. Darrell Desveaux, Dr. Gopal Subramaniam and Mr. Travis Banks.
Description: Background: Pathogens are constantly challenging our agricultural system. Farmers know that crop pathogens will destroy a significant proportion of their product before it makes it to consumers. These loses increase costs to producers and consumers, exacerbating socioeconomic pressures, and lead to significant food security challenges. To make matters worse, these stresses are expected to dramatically increase due to global climate change and human population growth. » More Info


Intensifying Manomin (Zizania palustris) Growth in Environments Altered by Colonial Settlement in Ways that are Responsive to Anishinaabe Knowledge and Values

Grantees: Dr. Andrea Bradford, Dr. Brittany Luby, Dr. Ralph Martin, Dr. Barry Warner, Chief Lorraine Cobiness, Mr. Barry Henry, Mr. Allan Luby, Ms. Samantha Mehltretter, Ms. Margaret Lehman and Mr. Joe Barnes.
Description: The Anishinaabe people and others associate a drastic decline in manomin growing in the bays along the Upper Winnipeg River with changes in land use, altered water levels due to the construction and operation of hydropower dams, and the introduction of pollutants and invasive species after World War II. This two-year project investigates the activities and conditions affecting manomin productivity in partnership with Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation. The Manomin Research Project will develop strategies to restore wetlands that support manomin growth. » More Info


NextGen Amplified Sustainable Agriculture (NASA). It's About Space.

Grantees: Dr. Rupp Carriveau, Dr. David S-K Ting, Dr. Jill Urbanic, Dr. Xiuming Hao, Mr. James Dyck, Ms. Niki Bennett, Mr. Lucas Semple, Mr. Stephen Fields, Dr. Tom Grochmal, Dr. Matt Davison and Dr. Lindsay Miller
Description: By 2050 some forecasts show global food demand increasing by 60%. To mitigate significant risks of global malnutrition, hunger, and conflict; food production needs to become more efficient and sustainable. Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) can produce higher yields at reduced spatial and environmental footprints. This control improves management of key elements like water, nutrients, and nutritional outcomes. These advantages come with a cost however; energy is among the greatest of these. Modern greenhouses and vertical farms can have significant thermal management requirements, and increasingly, very large electricity demands. » More Info


A win/win approach to bioremediation of food-grade waste-streams: conversion to high-value foodstuffs through algal cultivation

Grantees: Prof. Hugh MacIntyre, Dr. Suzanne Budge, Dr. Patrick McGinn and Dr. Jenna Ritter
Description: Phytoplankton are excellent sources of nutrition, particularly omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), protein, and antioxidant carotenoids. They are used worldwide for human dietary supplements and aquaculture feeds but production is limited by the energetic demands of cultivation. For many types of phytoplankton, these costs can be reduced significantly by supplying energy in the form of organic carbon. These forms are mixotrophic, meaning that they combine photosynthesis (harvesting light energy) with heterotrophy (acquiring carbon and/or energy from organic molecules-feeding). » More Info


Sustainable Water Management and Reduced Food Waste in the Fresh Produce Chain using Advanced Oxidative Process based Treatments

Grantees: Dr. Keith Warriner, Dr Ryan Prosser, Dr Tatiana Koutchma, Mark VanderVeen and Paul Moyer
Description: Project description: This project will develop two Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) based technologies to reduce the levels of microbes and pesticides on fresh produce. The AOP process is based on the generation of highly reactive free-radicals with the power to inactivate microbes, degrade pesticides and remove constituents in water that contribute to pollutants. A traditional AOP process uses hydrogen peroxide as the source of these radicals which although effective, is costly, challenging to control and has a relatively low efficiency. » More Info

 

SEEDING FOOD INNOVATION – AWARDED PROJECTS - 2018

New algal bioreactor design for clean food production with inland aquaculture

Grantees: Dr. Andreas Hyland, Dr. Wael Ahmed
Description: With increasing demand for fish and seafood products globally, inland aquaculture is becoming an important source of global food production. This is primarily because food can be produced in proximity to large and densely populated areas, cutting down on transportation costs and emissions. It also allows the use of a more diverse set of species as the risk of local species introductions is significantly reduced. Finally, inland aquaculture is less prone to natural disasters (hurricanes, typhoons, blooms, water contamination etc.). We are developing a photo-bioreactor for the removal of nutrients from recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), making inland seafood production more sustainable and cost effective. » More Info

Optimization of an environmentally friendly process for shrimp chitin extraction

Grantees: Dr. Deepika Dave, Ms. Julia Pohling, Ms. Sheila Trenholm, Mr. Wade Murphy, Mr. Simon Jarding, Dr. Kelly Hawboldt, Dr. Lordwin Jeyakumar
Description: Up to 70% of the shellfish landed in Newfoundland and Labrador every year is discarded as waste. This ‘waste’ contains several valuable compounds including Chitin in the shrimp shells. Chitin and its derivative Chitosan are a highly valuable natural polymers with many applications in the medical and nutraceutical fields as well as in wastewater treatment » More Info

Development of Sustainable Biopesticides Based on Phytochemicals Extracted from Agri-Food Waste

Grantees: Dr. Rob Nicol, Dr. Simon Lachance, Dr. Ian Scott, Dr. Shawn Wettig, Dr. Richard Vyn, Cara McCreary, Norm Hansen, Dr. Timothy Wilson, The Middlesex London Food Policy Council (MLFPC)
Description: Billions of tonnes of agri-food waste are generated around the world annually, representing an untapped resource for the development of new biofuels and bioproducts. In Ontario, most of the agricultural waste is in the form of crop residue, the leftover part of the crop that is not harvested, as well as waste from food processing, such as the skins and seeds produced during the preparation of canned or frozen vegetables. All of these wastes contain naturally occurring bioactive chemicals and interest in using these natural chemicals for agricultural, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical applications continues to grow. » More Info

Altering Plant Microbiomes for Flavour and Nutrition

Grantees: Dr. Roberta Fulthorpe, Dr. Apollinaire Tsopmo, Mr. Brandon Hebor, Dr. Enilson Saccol de Sá, Dr. Patricia Dörr de Quadros
Description: The goal of this project is to use naturally-occurring bacteria to improve the flavour and nutritional properties of food grown in hydroponic and aquaponics systems. This study will investigate ability of plant associated bacteria to alter the metabolic profile of select vegetables and leafy greens. » More Info

Using beneficial microbes to mitigate the effects of climate change on plant nutrition, resistance to insects, and drought

Grantees: Dr. Cara Haney, Dr. Juli Carrillo, Dr. Yi Song, Dr. Quentin Geissmann
Description: Climate change has major present-day and anticipated consequences for Canadian and global food security. Increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels can lead to decreased plant nutritional quality: more fixed carbon and sugar means that plants have less protein and micronutrients per gram. Additionally, increased CO2 levels can exacerbate insect pests on crops because elevated CO2 interferes with plant signalling and suppresses plants' ability to respond to stressors. » More Info

Enabling the next revolution in global food production through automatically labelled data sets and machine learning

Grantees: Dr. Christopher Bidinosti, Dr. Christopher Henry, Dr. Carl Gutwin, Dr. Ian Stavness, Dr. Rafael Otfinowski, Dr. Ed Cloutis, Dr. Jonathan Ziprick
Description: We envision a future where it will be possible to lavish the same attention on individual plants in a large prairie crop farm as one might on those in a backyard garden. As camera sensors shrink in size, and self-driving vehicles continue to improve, such an idea is no longer the realm of science fiction. The remaining piece of the puzzle, however, is the need for a very large number of pre-identified images of crop plants and weeds with which to train a computer to recognize one from the other. Our research project is to develop the means to automatically generate and label such images and to make the resulting data sets openly available for use by Canadian researchers and companies. » More Info

Nanotechnology-based development of antimicrobial materials for food packaging and processing

Grantees: Dr. Hyo-Jick Choi, Dr. Byeong Hwa Jeon
Description: Food safety is a top priority in the food industry and public health. Since cross-contamination during food processing and preparation sometimes leads to foodborne outbreaks, it is important to develop novel intervention methods to reduce contamination of foods. Cross-contamination is usually initiated with the attachment of pathogenic bacteria to the food-contacting surface of food processing equipment, and possibly packaging materials. For this, various methods have been explored at the laboratory level with some technical limitations. » More Info

 

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