the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences staff newsletter

December 12, 2007

The University is closed December 22, 2007 through January 2, 2008, re-opening on January 3 in the new year. Watch your email for the next staff.matters on January 9, 2008. Have a happy and safe holiday season!


Smartpark INTERACTIVE Speaker Series - On Wednesday, December 19 at 8 AM at Smartpark Research and Technology Park, Smartpark's INTERACTIVE Speaker Series presents The Power 30 with Geoff Kirbyson, featuring Mr. Allan McLeod, President and CEO, Tribal Councils Investment Group. Free admission. Parking is free. All are welcome. Please email or call 480-1434 to reserve your seat.

M.Sc. Thesis Examination - Soil Science student Alex Koiter will present "Short-term CO2 and N2O flux following disturbance of the clay soils in the Red River Valley linked to soil physical properties" on Wednesday, January 9 at 12:30 pm in 344 Ellis Building.

University Public Lecture - Guest speaker Dr. Robert Hill, Plant Science, and 2007 Recipient of the Dr. John Bowman Memorial Winnipeg Rh Institute Foundation Award will present "Plant Adaptation in a Changing Climate" on Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 8:00 pm in 343 Drake Centre. Dr. Hill has spent a good portion of his career studying how plants adapt to environmental stress, with a goal of providing knowledge leading to improvements in prairie grain crops. His focus most recently has been on water stress effects on plant development, which has resulted in landmark discoveries on plant adapation to both excess water (flooding) and water deficits (drought). He will discuss this work in relationship to current concerns on climate change. All are welcome, free admission.

The fourth seminar in the 2007-2008 Faculty Seminar Series will be held Wednesday, January 16, 2008.  The seminar will feature Karmin O, Animal Science and her seminar is entitled "Natural Health Products:  Potential Cellular Targets and Clinical Implication".  Coffee and doughnuts will be served at 3:00 pm in the Atrium and the seminar will begin at 3:30 pm in the Carolyn Sifton Lecture Theatre, Room 130 Agriculture Building.  Everyone Welcome!

Planning to go to Manitoba Ag Days? - The Manitoba Ag Grads Association and the Faculty will be holding the second annual Ag Daze social event on Wednesday, January 16, 2008, in Brandon. The social event will begin at 9 pm the Canad Inns Roadhouse Bar. Social tickets are $5 and will be available from the Dean's Office (call us at 474-9435). They will also be available during Ag Days at the Canad Inns front desk or at the Faculty booth, located in the Convention Hall. Before the social, all alumni are invited to meet at 6:00 pm in Aaltos Restaurant in the Canad Inns for the MAGA annual general meeting.

The Manitoba Soil Science Society annual general meeting and conference will be held in Winnipeg on January 31 - February 1, 2008. Read more about it online at

The Prairie Universities Biological Symposium will be held February 21-23, 2008 at University of Manitoba.  This conference is organized by students, for students.  All senior undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines who are studying biologically related topics are encouraged to participate in this symposium. The very first PUBS conference was held at the University of Manitoba in 1967! Abstracts due Jan 15, 2008. For more information, visit

The 24th Annual Plant Science Graduate Student Symposium will be held March 14-15, 2008 in Saskatoon, SK. The symposium is an excellent opportunity for graduate students from the University of Manitoba, University of Alberta, North Dakota State University and the University of Saskatchewan to present and receive feedback on their thesis proposals or project results as well as interacting and networking with other students who are also passionate about plant science research. Registration deadline Friday, December 14, and abstract deadline Friday, February 8, 2008. Download a registration and information package.


Suresh Neethirajan, Ph.D. student in Biosystems Engineering, was invited to deliver a keynote address at the "AgriSuccess Forum 2007" conducted by Farm Credit Canada in Regina, Abbotsford, Winnipeg and at Red Deer. Suresh spoke on the prospects and impacts of nanotechnology in agriculture, food, environment and biosystems industry. On each occasions, the forum was attended by over 800 Canadian farmers, lawers, policy makerrs and industry professionals.

Alex Anton, M.Sc. student in Food Science, attended the 6th European Conference on Grain Legumes in Lisbon, Portugal in mid-November. After submitting an abstract for poster and oral presentation, Anton was awarded a fellowship by the scientific committee and invited to give a talk in the workshop titled "Grain Legumes for Foods: Bioactive Components and Industrially Relevant Traits". His presentation was titled "Evaluation of technologies for production of edible snack foods with demonstrated health benefits from common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.)". Also contributing to this paper were Odean Lukow, Cereal Research Centre, Gary Fulcher, Food Science, and Susan Arntfield, Food Science and Anton's advisor. The abstracts can be viewed online.

Several Plant Science graduate students were winners at the recent regional meeting of the Canadian Phytopathological Society, held in early December at the Cereal Research Centre. Taye Zegeye, Ph.D. student with Lakhdar Lamari and Tom Fetch (CRC), won first place in the student presentation competition. Hassna Alkher, M.Sc. student with Fouad Daayf and Khalid Rashid (CRC), and Ahmed El-Bebany, Ph.D. student with Fouad Daayf, won the 2nd and 3rd place awards respectively.

Two co-operative education students from Perpignan University in France are available for two-month work terms. The students are in the second year of their program and are Environment or Agonomy students. The Department of Soil Science has had a very successful experience with the program for six years but currently there are more students interested in training here than positions in the Department (we have five coming to the Department). A student stipend is not required but providing accommodation in Winnipeg for two months is expected (about $500 per month; the students usually stay in campus residence). The Environment students start mid-April and the Agronomy students early May. If you are interested or wish to learn more of the possibility of having the students work in your lab please contact Mario Tenuta, Department of Soil Science, at

Grad students take note - SOIL 7202 - Advanced Soil Ecology will be offered in Winter 2008 (please note this course replaces the delisted SOIL 7200 Advanced Soil Microbiology which, though delisted, remains in the calendar). Examine the role of soil organisms and their communities in decomposition, elemental cycling, and pathogen/pest suppression in managed and natural soil systems. Understand methods of studying biochemical activity and communities in soil. Take a specific research topic of choice and develop an understanding of the organisms and communities, environmental controls of key biological processes involved and apply your knowledge to resolving a specific research issue. 3.000 Credit Hours. For further information please contact Mario Tenuta at

Olakulehin Abioye, Ph.D. student in Soil Science, has been awarded a complimentary student membership of the Clay Minerals Society.  This membership represents a contribution to the international community of clay scientists and allows future leaders in this arena to be exposed to a large network of scientists and materials.

Peter Jones, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, presented "Optimizing Patient Outcomes to Managing and Lowering Cholesterol:  Future dietary recommendations" at the Heart & Stroke Clinical Update in Toronto in early December.

Over the past two weeks, tours of the Richardson Centre were given to Joanne Lampe of the University of Washington, Strategro, Glanbia Nutritionals and Pizzy's Nutritionals.

Just a reminder about the upcoming Richardson Centre Holiday Celebration happening on Friday, December 21 at 2:00-4:30 p.m. in the RCFFN Atrium at 196 Innovation Drive.  There will be plenty of food and festivities.  All are welcome.


Extended loans due - Book lovers, your due date is looming up.  This is a reminder that all extended loans are due on December 15, 2007 and can be renewed at any time before then.   In order to renew books for another extended loan (April 15, 2008), you must bring them in person to the library. (We do like to see them now and then.)  If you are unable to renew books in person, you may renew them online for shorter loan periods to avoid overdue notices.  (Note that your card will be blocked as of December 15 if you have ten or more overdue books.) To renew online, click on "My Library Account" on the Libraries' home page.

Fiction book shelf and new book shelf - With the exception of reference books, all titles on the New Book Shelf will be available for loan on December 17 to enhance your vacation reading.  If you are desperate for fiction the fiction shelf provides an interesting variety of titles to amuse you during the break.  Both shelves are above the cranky public photocopier.

Book of the week - People, plants & genes by Denis J. Murphy.  This title is sitting on the new book shelf waiting for someone who would like to learn about the development of crops through history, how some peoples became farmers, early scientific plant breeders.  This is a scholarly worked packed with fascinating information. 

Web site of the week.  Wish Lists: Gadgets and Gear for the Holidays - Wired - Who would know better than the professional geeks at Wired what gifts your own geeks are longing for?

Happy holidays to all from Susan, Mora, Michael and Mirna.   


In-barn biofilter research being conducted on behalf of the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative (MLMMI) by U of M researchers was featured on Farmscape recently.  MLMMI executive director Brandy Street was interviewed about the study they commissioned on the effectiveness of in-barn biofilters to reduce odour emissions from swine operations. Listen to the clip at - the clip aired December 11 (#2682).

Don Flaten, Soil Science, and Laurie Connor, Animal Science, were interviewed on Farmscape during last week's Hog Days in Brandon. Don spoke about the new phosphorus regulations and Laurie about conventional versus alternative housing systems. Listen to the clips at - Laurie's interview aired December 6 (#2674) and Don's on December 7 (#2676).

David Lobb, Soil Science, was quoted in the article "Tillage main cause of soil loss" in the Manitoba Co-operator (November 29). At the November Faculty seminar, David talked about the misconception that wind and water are the chief causes of soil erosion when in fact the main culprit is tillage.

Jim House, Animal Science, and Anita Brulé-Babel, Plant Science, were quoted in the article "Fusarium also a problem for processors" in the Co-operator (December 6). They talked about the strategies researchers are studying to make fusarium-infected feed more palatable to livestock. This will become increasingly important as dried distillers grain, a by-product of ethanol production, is more abundant as a livestock feed.

Don Flaten, Soil Science, is featured in the article "Managing phosphorus-based manure inputs" in the Top Crop Manager (December 2007). Don talks about the new nutrient management regulations and the challenges they pose for producers.

Jane Froese, Plant Science, is also quoted in Top Crop Manager (December 2007) in the article "Assessing soybean seeding dates". She discusses the trends observed in an ongoing study of seeding dates on height, yield, seed weight, protein and oil content.


100th Anniversary Book - A Great Christmas Gift! - The Faculty's AgCentennial publication "Times of their lives - Milestones, memories and mischief" which documents the Faculty's significant events and notable people over the last 100 years is finally here! If you have not yet ordered your copy, please visit to see a preview and for an order form that can be filled out and faxed back to us. Alternatively, you can call us with your order details at 474-9435. The cost of the book is $39.95 plus GST and optional shipping. The 232-page softcover book is filled with great recollections and loads of photos. The closing pages of the book include the over 10,000 names of faculty and graduates.

staff.matters is e-mailed bi-weekly on Wednesday afternoon to members and friends of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Manitoba. The bi-weekly news deadline is Tuesdays at 4:00 pm. Email Crystal Jorgenson with your news or get in touch with your department staff.matters rep:

  • Agribusiness: Judy Powell 9259
  • Animal Science and Entomology: Claire Hutchinson 6125
  • Biosystems Engineering: Debby Watson 6033
  • Food Science: Allison Cranmer 9621
  • Plant Science: Bev Godard 8563
  • Soil Science: Terry Ramm 8153

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