University of Manitoba - Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences - AG e-news
AG e-news

the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences newsletter

May 31, 2012


New students and their families will be coming to campus on Saturday, June 2, for the Head Start Day organized by the Office of Student Life. Students and their supporters (families and friends) will have an opportunity to attend tour campus and residences, learn more about academic programs, registration process and the resources available to them. This fall will mark the first year that the Faculty is accepting Direct Entry degree students and we are excited to welcome them to the University!  Learn more at

The Third Annual Functional Foods and Natural Health Products Graduate Student Symposium will take place June 4-6  in St. John's College, University of Manitoba. The symposium has grown to an inter-provincial, multi-day event, in conjunction with the FAST (Food Advancement through Science and Training) program. The FAST program is a collaboration between the Université Laval and the University of Manitoba.  The goal of the symposium is to provide opportunities to graduate students working in the areas of Functional Foods and Natural Health Products to share their research and learn about what else is being done in their domain. Go online for more information.

The 3rd International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare is being held on June 5-7 in Saskatoon, SK.  It features a dynamic group of speakers and a program that will offer producers, processors, retailers, government officials, NGOs, animal scientists, veterinarians and students the opportunity to discuss, debate and learn about the current and emerging welfare issues that face the beef cattle industry. For more details visit

Thursday, June 7 is the 23rd Annual Sneakers in Motion Day on the Fort Garry Campus.  This is a fun and exciting noon-hour event that includes a walk around campus, prize giveaways, entertainment, and a healthy lunch.  The goal of Sneakers in Motion Day is to inspire staff and students of the University to be more physically active.  New this year - bring your gently used sneakers to be donated to adults and children to encourage the pursuit of active lifestyles and wellness through physical activity. Details online at or in your department.

The University of Manitoba's speaker series Visionary Conversations, hosted by President Dr. David T. Barnard, will next present "The Food We Eat". Join our expert panel for a discussion about the safety and supply of the food we eat – from the local and the global perspective. The panel of four speakers includes our own Ryan Cardwell, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics and Rick Holley, Food Science. The event will be held Wednesday, June 13 at the Robert B. Schultz Theatre, St. John’s College. Reception in Galleria - 6:30 pm - 7:00 pm - sponsored by the Alumni Association and then Panel Discussion – 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm.  This is the final Visionary Conversation until they return in the fall. To RSVP for the event, email

Mid-Canada AOAC (Association of Analytical Communities) will be holding general elections for its 2012-13 executive committee at their Annual General Meeting, held during Mid-Canada AOAC Day on June 14 at the Victoria Inn and Conference Centre, 1808 Wellington, Winnipeg.  They are seeking nominations for President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer and Member At Large (multiple positions). Nominations must be made by email to Andrew Minkevich at, President Elect and Nominating Committee Chair PRIOR TO June 7.

UTS Spring Faculty Workshops - On Wednesday, June 20, "Providing Effective Written Feedback" is offered by facilitators Miriam Unruh and Kathy Block, Learning Assistance Centre in 207 Isbister Building. For full descriptions and to register for workshops, visit

As part of International Livestock Congress in Calgary in August, the ILC Beef 2012 Student Program is being held August 12-15. Students can apply for the Bursary on the ILC website. For complete details, visit


A team of Food Science students won the 2012 CIFST Student Challenge held this week in Niagara Falls during the CIFST 50th National Conference. The Student Challenge is a “Jeopardy-style” question and answer competition in which each food science and technology school is paired up with an industry sponsor who also joins the team. The knowledgeable U of M team included undergraduate students Ryan Murphy, John Dupuis, May-fong Yee and Ph.D. student Lovemore Malunga, and their team advisor Trust Beta. Their industry partner was Alan Frittenburg, president and CEO of 'The Ingredient Company'. They beat out nine other Canadian academic institutions to claim the trophy and $150 each in cash prizes.

A University of Manitoba team will once again be competing in ASABE's 15th Annual International ¼-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, which runs May 31 - June 3 at the Expo Gardens in Peoria, IL. Twenty-six teams from universities across North America will vie for prizes and global recognition for their design innovations. The teams have spent the 2011-2012 academic year designing and building utility or recreational pulling tractors that they will present and demonstrate at the competition. Each team is supplied one 31-hp Briggs & Stratton Vanguard Big Block Engine and a set of Titan tires; they are responsible for acquiring all other components of their machines. All tractors run on a 10% ethanol fuel blend.  Last year the University of Manitoba team won top honors in a number of categories and ended up fifth overall. Stay tuned - we will report on their results in the next AG e-news.

Another Spring Convocation is almost over and there were 66 degree graduates from our Faculty at this week's ceremony. Agribusiness student Kelvin Friesen was presented the University Gold Medal in Agricultural and Food Sciences. Program medals were presented to Robert Gousseau (Agriculture), Lindsay Geisel (Agroecology), and Hao Yang (Food Science). There was no Agribusiness medal presented this year.

Matthew Hink, M.Sc. graduate (Feb'12) in Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, won Honourable Mention (second place) in the CAES “Outstanding Master's Thesis Award” competition for the 2010-2011 year.  It is the first time that a U of M student has won an award in this competition for 18 years!

Over 300 global leaders from health and food industry sectors in 13 countries met at the Whole Grains Summit 2012 to work towards the common goal of creating a healthier grain-based food environment. The Summit, held in Minneapolis, MN, May 19-22,was organized by the Grains for Health Foundation (which is chaired by Gary Fulcher, Food Science) to develop global solutions that allow easier access to healthier grain-based foods by consumers. The Summit included several distinguished international experts in grain science, food technology and public health. Lee Ann Murphy (Manitoba Agri-Health research Network) and Gary each chaired sessions during the meeting.

Jared Carlberg, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, attended the Consumer and Market Demand Research Network Conference “Consumer Demand for Food: Models, Issues and Conundrums” in Edmonton June 24-25. Jared, whose recent research has focused on the health and economic outcomes of food choice along with potential policy responses, chaired a session entitled “Health and Food Purchasing Behaviour.”

Chad Lawley, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, presented his work on habitat conservation easement activity in Manitoba at the Linking Environment and Agriculture Research Network workshop in Edmonton last week.  He will also be presenting this research at the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists Annual Meeting in Asheville, NC, next week June 3-5.

Martin Entz, Plant Science, spent two weeks in May visiting farming areas in eastern and central Kenya.  Martin is supporting conservation agriculture (i.e., agroecological no-till) initiatives of the Canadian Food Grains Bank in Africa. He is also participating in the new relationship between the Canadian Food Grains Bank partners in Africa and the World Agroforestry Centre and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Narobi.

Martin Entz, together with Lisa Avery and Maryanne Crockett (Centre for Global Public Health), and Joyce Slater (Human Ecology) received a "Students for Development" grant from CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency).  The project, "Students for Global Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health: a Canadian-Kenyan Partnership", involves a student exchange between Canada and Kenya. Six agriculture grad students will have the opportunity to conduct three-month internships on food security cropping systems in Kenya.

Curtis Rempel, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, hosted two tours at RCFFN on May 24. The first group included J. Susana Paez, Consul, Francisco B. Luna, Consular Officer-in-Charge-of Labor, and Eric Gerardo E. Tamayo, First Secretary and Consul from the Consulate General Office of the Philippines.  The second tour included Susan St. George and Rob Spewak, both with the Office of Applied Research and Commercialization at Red River College. Dr. St. George is assisting RRC with developing a strategic plan for an applied research component regarding food technology at the new Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at Red River College.  The meeting was an opportunity to learn more about the resources and work being performed at RCFFN and to determine whether there is opportunity for collaboration to share strengths in working toward a common goal for the industry. 

Peter Jones, RCFFN, attended the CNS - SCN Annual Meeting 2012 in Vancouver on May 23-26.  Along with Dr. Kevan Jacobson of BC Children’s Hospital, Peter co-chaired the session “Diet, Microflora and Intestinal Health and Disease”.  They explored alterations in intestinal microflora, referred to as dysbiosis, which are increasingly recognized to have an etiologic role in a variety of human diseases.

Peter Jones and several graduate students attended the 10th Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids & Lipids (ISSFAL) in Vancouver May 26-30. Peter co-presented “Constituents of a Heart Healthy Diet: Let Food Be Our Medicine and Science Be Our Guide” with Peter Zock, Unilever Research & Development Vlaardingen, The Netherlands, Cyril Kendall, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, and Penny Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State as part of the Breakfast Workshop Series on May 27. He also presented as part of the plenary on May 27 “Mono-unsaturated Fatty Acids, the Mediterranean Diet and CVD” along with Penny Kris-Etherton, and Emilio Ros, Lipid Clinic, University of Barcelona, Spain. Peter and Jean-Baptiste Roullet, Oregon Health & Science University, co-moderated "Sterols, Isoprenoids and Rare Diseases: State of the Art" on May 30. Peter and Semone Myrie formed part of the panel discussion on “Sterol Metabolism and Sitosterolemia”. Also at the ISSFAL, Leah Gillingham, Ph.D. student was named one of the recipients of this year's “New Investigator Award”.  Her project “Modulation of plasma fatty acid composition & conversion of 13C-a-linolenic acid to long-chain fatty acids by dietary higholeic canola & flaxseed oils & genetic variants of FADS1 & FADS2” formed part of the parallel symposia on May 29. Mandana Amir Shaghaghi, M.Sc. presented the poster “Water dispersible plant sterol shows improved lipid lowering efficacy compared to plant sterol ester”.

Peter Jones was an invited speaker at the 50th annual Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology May 27-29 Niagara Falls, Ontario.   Peter spoke at the Value-added Fats & Oils Symposium on “A new perspective on the science behind major dietary recommendations for healthy oils”.

The Faculty hosted a two-day Problem-Based Learning workshop for high school science teachers on May 24-25. The 23 teachers in attendance were presented with curriculum resource cases that encourage participants to apply science in problem-solving. Hosts included the Faculty’s Sue Clayton, Johanne Ross, Agriculture in the Classroom and Jon Treloar, University of Saskatchewan. Thank you to Plant Science's Anita Brûlé-Babel and Claudio Stasolla for providing a tour of facilities and discussion of research activities in the Faculty. Also thanks to Kateryn Rochon, Entomology, for providing an experiential learning opportunity for the teachers.

On May 29, the Faculty held its annual day at Kelburn Farm with about 60 Pembina Trails School Division students - Grade 12's from Vincent Massey Collegiate and Grade 10's from Fort Richmond Collegiate.   Students explored topics in soil and crop science and environmental management. Session facilitators were Mario Tenuta, Jolene Rutter and Oscar Molina Tirado in Soil Science and Gary Martens in Plant Science.


Manasah S. Mkhabela, Paul R. Bullock. 2012. Performance of the FAO AquaCrop model for wheat grain yield and soil moisture simulation in Western Canada. Agricultural Water Management 110: 16-24.

Former Food Science MSc student, Nikolay Repin (who is now at AAFC in Winnipeg) recently had his work on fibre enrichment of dairy products published in the high impact factor journal, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science.  Because milk is totally devoid of dietary fibre, research on fibre supplementation of dairy products is the active focus of a number of research groups worldwide.  Nikolay has shown how colloid science rules formulated to describe the destabilization of industrial materials such as paint can predict how much of a commercial dietary fibre product (beta-glucan made naturally from barley) can be added without impairing product quality.  The depletion flocculation approach devised by Nikolay and his co-advisors is the first report describing the phase diagram of milk and commercial beta-glucan, and so the information will be invaluable to processors wishing to produce high quality dairy products such as yogurt with enhanced nutrient profiles.  The work is published as:

Nikolay Repin, Martin G. Scanlon, R. Gary Fulcher. 2012. Phase behaviour of casein micelles and barley beta-glucan polymer molecules in dietary fibre-enriched dairy systems. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 377 (2012) 7–12.


Convocation coverage highlighted a number of our students.  In the Bulletin, agronomy graduate Sally Parsonage and soil science Ph.D. student Emmanuel Rotimi (Timi) Ojo were profiled in the graduating students feature "The view from here: Graduating students share their stories". The Winnipeg Free Press picked up Timi's story and featured it May 30 story "Set to take on the world".

Terry Galloway, Entomology, was quoted in the Manitoba Co-operator (May 31) in the article "Weather favours West Nile carriers". He noted that the culex tarsalis mosquito species, which is the one that can carry the West Nile virus and western equine encephalitis, overwinters as adults and don't need water to emerge.

Don Flaten, Soil Science, was quoted in the Manitoba Co-operator (May 31) articles "Snake-oil versus innovation" and "Good data is the antidote to hype". He said he’s disappointed the federal fertilizer efficacy requirements are disappearing, but he also recognized the previous system was difficult to enforce. He encourages farmers to do their own evaluation of the products they use. Fertilizers are the single biggest input data for western grain farmers, with $2.3 billion spent in 2010.

Kateryn Rochon, Entomology, was quoted in the Manitoba Co-operator (May 24) article "Warm weather drawing out more humans than ticks". She notes that the tick level is normal but the warm spring has increased human outdoor activity, which means more encounters. She advocates tucking in shirts and pants and wearing light colored clothing to make ticks easier to spot and remove. With entomological enthusiasm, Kateryn says "It’s an exciting moment for someone who works on ticks in Manitoba."


Volunteers are needed to help staff a booth for the Farm & Food Discovery Centre at the Red River Exhibition. The Ex runs from June 15 to 24, and is open from 12 noon to 9 pm (3 pm to 9 pm on Monday to Wednesday). Volunteers will get entrance passes and parking, so this a great chance to get in free!! To volunteer, contact Guy Robbins at 883-2524 or

Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) is pleased to make available four $500 bursaries annually for MBP members or their children attending a university, college or other post-secondary institution or pursuing trades training. Deadline is June 1. More details and the application form can be found online at

The Manitoba Sheep Association (MSA) is pleased to announce a $500 Scholarship which is available to any student who is a current member of the MSA or is the student relation of a current MSA member. The applicant must be an active participant in the Manitoba Sheep Industry. Deadline is June 30. Criteria and contact information is online at

The Margaret Skaptason Memorial Scholarship is available for a student enrolled in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Manitoba.  Valued at $500, the award is offered through the Jon Sigurdsson Chapter of the IODE, which is a Canadian women’s charitable organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children, youth and those in need, through educational, social services and citizenship programs. Application forms can be found at and must be received BY MAIL on or before September 4, 2012.

The International Youth Internship Program is for new graduates mainly in the area of agribusiness, from September 3, 2012 to March 7, 2013. It is funded through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) International Youth Internship Program and implemented by The Canadian Co-operative Association. Travel costs are covered and a stipend provided. Deadline for applications is June 15, 2012.

AG e-news > May 31, 2012