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AG e-news December 21, 2018

News and events from the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences

December 21, 2018 — 

News and events from the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences


December 22-January 2 – The University of Manitoba will be closed for the holiday break. University buildings will be locked during this period. If you will be working on campus it is recommended that you follow any working alone policies your department or faculty may have in place. For those of you wanting to stay fit, the Active Living Centre will be open December 26 to 31, and reopen on January 2 (

Thursday, January 10 – An Advanced Plant Science Seminar will be held in the Carolyn Sifton Lecture Theatre, 130 Agriculture Building at 3:30 pm.  Xuehua Zhang, Discovery Scientist, Bayer Canada, and Pratisara Bajracharya, Pesticide Minor Use and Regulatory, Manitoba Agriculture, will present “Early Career Paths of Plant Science Graduates”.  All are welcome to attend. Coffee at 3:00 pm in the Atrium.

Wednesday, January 23  – The fourth seminar in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences 2018-2019 Seminar Series will be held at 3:30 pm in the Carolyn Sifton Lecture Theatre, 130 Agriculture Building. Myrna Grahn, Manager, Bruce D. Campbell Farm and Food Discovery Centre will present “Canadian Centre for Food Integrity 2018 Public Trust Research: Insights to Actions – What Makes Food Information Credible?” Refreshments will be served at 3:00 pm in the Atrium. Everyone is welcome to attend.

February 7-8 – The 62nd Annual Manitoba Soil Science Society Meetings will be held at the Holiday Inn South, 1330 Pembina Hwy, Winnipeg. Details are available at:

February 19-21 – Mark your calendars for the 12th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference at the Victoria Inn Hotel and Convention Centre. Connect with scientists, landowners, consultants, educators, nature enthusiasts, land managers, and others to share information and new approaches to conservation, agriculture and the protection of prairie landscapes and native species. Explore the conference theme of to gain a better understanding of the many changes that have shaped our prairie landscape. For more info, visit



Digvir Jayas, Vice-President (Research and International) and Distinguished Professor in Biosystems Engineering, has been named by Engineering Institute of Canada as the recipient of the 2019 K.Y. Lo Medal for significant engineering contributions at the international level. He will be presented with this award at the EIC annual gala/banquet on March 30, 2019.

The Glenlea Research Station dairy unit received a Milk Quality (2nd overall) Award which was presented at the Manitoba Dairy Conference Banquet on December 6. Given that the major transition that the dairy underwent in 2018, this is an exceptional achievement!

Two Faculty of Graduate Studies Awards were presented recently to staff members in the Faculty.  Jim House, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, received an Outstanding Administrator Award, given annually to one member of the University of Manitoba’s complement of academic staff members who have provided exceptional administrative services with respect to graduate studies. Kathy Graham, Animal Science and Entomology, received an Outstanding Support Staff Award given to recognize the considerable efforts and accomplishments of staff members who consistently strive to fulfil the academic mission and provide invaluable service to the faculty. Well done!

The Departments of Animal Science and Entomology welcomes Anam Anwar to the role of Administrative Assistant. She began her new role on November 26.  Anam has a CPA designation and a Bachelors of Commerce (Hons) degree from the University of Manitoba.   She has over four years of experience working for a large organization as a senior financial analyst and comes to us with strong financial and budget management skills. Anam will be responsible for all financial and human resource matters for the Department of Animal Science and will continue to provide some administrative and backup support to the Department of Entomology.

The Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals welcomes Meenakshi Raina as Business Manager starting January 3, 2019, taking over from Louise Grapentine who will be retiring January 4. Meenakshi has a CPA designation and a Master of Business Administration degree plus 10 years of senior Management experience.  She most recently worked as senior research accountant in Financial Services and is well versed in the university research, financial and administrative compliance policies and procedures. 

David Lobb, Soil Science, gave the keynote presentation “Tillage: Implications For Soil and Water Conservation Practices” for the Managing Soil: Maximizing Profit conference, hosted by the South Dakota Soil and Water Conservation Society and the South Dakota State University Extension Service at Sioux Falls, South Dakota on November 29.

Michael Eskin, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, has been invited to join the editorial board of Advances in Food and Nutrition Science,  published by Elsevier Press.

Martin Scanlon, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, visited the University of Udine, Italy, an institution with a partnership agreement with the University of Manitoba, following up on scientific dissemination of a jointly supervised M.Sc. student.  While at the University he presented on “Measuring Quality and Controlling the Manufacture of Wheat Flour Dough Products with Low Intensity Ultrasound”. Martin also visited one of the planet’s most prominent cereal science laboratories, IATA-CSIC (Institut d’Agroquímica i Tecnologia dels Aliments within the Spanish government’s Conseljo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) where he presented “Ultrasonic Methods for Measuring the Quality of Wheat Flour Dough Products and Controlling their Manufacture”.

Filiz Koksel, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, attended to the International Symposium on Recent Developments in Food Extrusion Technology on November 2 at the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan. She gave a talk on the “Use of physical blowing agents during extrusion of cereal and pulse flours”. She also attended the Grains for Wellbeing conference organized by ICC-International Association for Cereal Science and Technology November 6-7 in Taipei. At the Grains for Wellbeing conference, she presented on the “Effects of nitrogen and carbon dioxide gasses as blowing agents on physical properties of extruded puffed foods made from different pulse flours”, co-authored with Dr. Tugrul Masatcioglu (Mustafa Kemal University, Turkey).

Dilantha Fernando, Plant Science was an invited speaker at the Canadian Phytopathological Society Eastern Ontario Conference held last week. Dilantha gave a presentation titled “Cutting edge technologies and farm-driven research helps growers mitigate field crop diseases with new solutions”. Dilantha also brought greetings from the CPS Board, as its current President.

Rasanie Padmathilike, Ph.D. student in Plant Science, received 3rd place at the recently concluded CPS-Manitoba regional meeting. Rasanie’s presentation was titled “Identification of Brassica napus-Leptosphaeria maculans interaction by dual-RNASeq”. Rasanie is doing her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dilantha Fernando.

James Tucker, Ph.D. student in Plant Science, was recently appointed as a Research Scientist at the AAFC/Brandon Research Station. James will be responsible for the barley genomics program at AAFC. James is currently completing his Ph.D. research co-supervised by Drs. Dilantha Fernando (Plant Science) and Ana Badea (AAFC/Brandon and Plant Science).   

The Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals and tenants participated in The Shoebox Project for Women, donating 11 shoe boxes filled with items for local woman in need.  The Shoebox Project collects and distributes gift-filled Shoeboxes to women impacted by homelessness in communities across Canada.  Each Shoebox is filled with items that can enhance self-esteem and reduce feelings of isolation for women in crisis.  More information can be found at



Mario Tenuta, Soil Science, was interviewed for the article “U of M Study To Look At Environmental Footprint Of Canadian Pig Production” on PembinaValley Online (December 20) – – and also on the Manitoba Farm Journal show  – listen to the December 20 show at the 00:39 mark

Ryan Cardwell, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, updated his essay “Should I give a goat for Christmas?” on UM Today December 7) – this first appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press in 2016 –

The Faculty has two connections in Ace Burpee’s list of 100 Most Fascinating Manitobans for 2018. Number 100 is Jason Gibbs, Entomology, who was highlighted for his discovery of Epeolus gibbsi, a new species of bee in Manitoba. Number 83 is Rachel Parson, a high school student at Shaftesbury High School, was listed for the phytoremediation work that she carried out under the supervision of Soil Science’s Inoka Amarakoon and Francis Zvomuya. Rachel won multiple awards at the 2018 Manitoba Schools Science Symposium for her project on end-of-life municipal lagoon phytoremediation using cattail.   See Ace’s whole list here –

Reg Dyck, School of Agriculture, was quoted in the article “What does Agriculture 3.0 look like?” in the Manitoba Co-operator (December 18) –

A recent paper by Martin Entz, Plant Science, was featured in the article “Mixed farming without livestock” in the Country Guide (December 13) –

A number of Faculty members and students were interviewed by Farmscape following the Prairie Livestock Expo on December 12:
Desmond Essien on “Biofilters Offer Effective Low Cost Odor Control” –
Xianjie Yan on “Slat and Gap Width Influences Sow Foot Health” –
Claudia Narvaez on “Antibacterial Polymer Offers Promise in Reducing Risk of Cross Contamination” –
Kristen Matwychuk on “Consumers Increasingly Interested in the Basics of Food Production” –

Research by Don Flaten and M.Sc. student Lanny Gardiner, Soil Science, were featured in the Top Crop Manager (December 2018) article “Figuring out nitrogen for corny yields” along with a photo of Lanny and a couple of the summer students from last year’s field research team – see page 12 at

Yvonne Lawley, Plant Science, was quoted in Top Crop Manager (December 2018) article “Till or no-till after soybeans?” – see page 16 at

Rob Gulden, Plant Science, was quoted in Top Crop Manager (December 2018) article “Optimizing wheat production” – see page 36 at

Ryan Cardwell, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, updated his essay “Should I give a goat for Christmas?” for UM Today (December 7) –

Francis Zvomuya, Soil Science, was interviewed in the story “Tests commissioned by CBC show lead contamination persists in North Point Douglas” on CBC News (November 27)  –

Michele Rogalsky, School of Agriculture, was quoted in the article “A Quick Guide to Choosing Your Ag School” in Farming for Tomorrow (November 3) –



Harunur Rashid, Georg Hausner, W. G. Dilantha Fernando. 2018. Molecular and phenotypic identification of B-genome introgression linked to Leptosphaeria maculans resistant gene Rlm6 in Brassica napus 3 B. juncea interspecific hybrids. Euphytica. 214:205-211.



Call for Nominations! The Certificate of Merit is presented by the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and the School of Agriculture in recognition of leadership with agricultural organizations and outstanding service to the community at large. Each year two Certificates of Merit are presented, normally, one to a graduate of the Agriculture Diploma program, and one to a graduate of the Agriculture Degree program. Nominations are considered by the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Executive Committee and must be received no later than January 14, 2019. More information about the nomination process including a list of previous recipients can be found at

Bees and Trees!  Just a reminder that Beekeeping for the Hobbyist runs 9 Wednesdays from January 30 to March 27, 2019  – learn more or register via The Manitoba Arborists’ Training Course has its next online (in-class is now full) course intake in January 2019 – visit

Undergraduate Research Awards offer a rewarding experience for students to be mentored full-time with a professor of their choice for 16 weeks (May to August) and to gain valuable experience in their field of interest, in addition to a $7,000 monetary award. Application deadline is January 25 and complete info is available at where students can see a lists of researchers.

The Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine is looking for volunteers for a research study. Volunteers needed for omega-3 lipid study We are investigating the effects of supplementation with omega-3 fats on special fat metabolites in the blood and on markers of inflammation. We are looking for premenopausal females aged 20-55 with body weights that are above normal and who do not have a chronic disease. You will be asked to consume capsules containing fish oil or flax oil daily for 4 weeks each, and to attend 3 study visits (~½ hour in length) at the Asper Clinical Research Institute during each 4 week phase. An honorarium will be provided.  If you are interested or would like more information please call 204-258-1206 or email studyinfo [at] sbrc [dot] ca.

Battery and cellphone recycling is now offered in the FAFS Dean’s Office, Rm 256 Agriculture Building, through the National Call2Recycle program. Accepted – All consumer batteries weighing 5 kg or less, all cell phones and cellphone batteries (any size, make, model or age). Not accepted – Wet cell batteries, damaged or defective batteries. Call2Recycle is funded by product manufacturers across the globe committed to environmentally-sound recycling of rechargeable batteries and cell phones. These manufacturers place the RBRC recycling seal on their rechargeable products and batteries, informing users that they are recyclable.  Unsure what batteries you have?  See: Department Offices – If you don’t currently have a battery recycling box and are interested in participating in the program, please call the Waste Prevention Office at 474-9608 to obtain a box. Purolator picks up full boxes free of charge.

Two NSERC Competitions give you to the opportunity to highlight your research – NSERC is once again inviting you to submit a 60-second video  showcasing science and engineering on our campus for a chance to win cash prizes in the Science Action! contest. Read more: Contest closes: January 18,  2019.  Science Exposed is a science photography contest with cash prizes open to students and academics. Read more: Contest closes: January 15, 2019.


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