UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
News from
Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences
UM Today Network

AG e-news November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020 — 

News and events from the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences


November – The Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association is offering the entire 2020 MFGA Regen Ag Conference online free of charge every Thursday night throughout the month of November. Internationally-recognized keynote presentations are scheduled for MFGA’s month-long celebration of Regenerative Agriculture in Manitoba. Each keynote speaker will include a very strong Manitoba profile into their presentations and be available for a facilitated Q & A session. MFGA will also showcase regenerative agriculture during the presentations through Manitoba-based regen ag topics and producers. It will also include a virtual trade show. Learn more and register at

November-December – A series of webinars on weed management in organic production is being cohosted by the UM Natural Systems Agriculture Lab and the Manitoba Organic Alliance. Rob Gulden, Plant Science, is the featured presenter on December 2 on “Green and Yellow Foxtail”. Each webinar is $10. See registration info at

Did you miss last night’s UM Cafe Scientifique on “Eating the Whole Grains in Canada’s Food Guide” with Jim House, Carla Taylor, Peter Zahradka and Getty Stewart? It is now available for post-event viewing at

Thursday, November 19Kyle Bobiwash, Entomology will present “Indigenous Knowledge Interrupted” as part of the Rural Policy Learning Commons webinar series. Registration link for the webinar: Or watch via Facebook live link:

Thursday, November 19 – The Advanced Plant Science Seminar Series takes place at 3:00 pm with a presentation from Uzzal Liton, PhD student, on the topic “Identification of loci for pre-harvest sprouting resistance in highly dormant spring wheat RL4137”.  To watch, register at

Thursday, November 19Martin Scanlon, Dean, will appear as part of a panel to present to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food regarding its study of Processing Capability. Martin will be representing the Deans Council of the Association of Canadian Faculties of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. You can watch at 3:30 CST at

November 24-25 – The virtual two-day Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference has over 35 speakers, and offers networking, chat rooms, round tables and a virtual exhibitor hall. Cost is $250 (plus tax) per person. Get details and register at

Wednesday, November 25 – The second seminar in the virtual Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Conversation Series will be presented by Mario Tenuta, Soil Science, John Heard, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development and Jennifer Sabourin, Antara Research, at 3:30 pm.  Topic is “The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Framework in the Research-Outreach-Advising Continuum”. Event link is After the presentation, viewers will be able to ask questions through the chat platform using event code #4Rnutrient. The event will be recorded and available at the same link shortly after it ends.

Thursday, November 26 – The Advanced Plant Science Seminar Series takes place at 3:00 pm with a presentation from Dr. Malcolm Morrison, Research Scientist, Crop Physiology/Crop Phenomics, Ottawa RDC, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, on the topic “The Lost Art of Crop Physiology”.  To watch, register at

Tuesday, December 1 – The Entomology Seminar Series features Dr. Paul Galpern, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, on “The merits of messy fields: linking landscape complexity and beneficial arthropods in Alberta croplands”.  Chatting and announcements start at 10:00 am, seminars start at 10:10 am. Zoom meeting instructions are emailed just prior to the event. To be added to the mailing list, contact Kateryn Rochon at kateryn [dot] rochon [at] umanitoba [dot] ca.

Wednesday, December 2 – There will be a Soil Science Seminar featuring Claudia Quilesfogel-Esparza, Department of Soil Science, on the topic “Using sensors to measure corn canopy” at 12:30 pm. Please contact Lynda [dot] Closson [at] umanitoba [dot] ca for information on how to connect.

December 8-10 – The Agricultural Excellence Conference (AgEx) is the only event in Canada dedicated exclusively to bringing farm management enthusiasts together to build their business acumen. This year’s theme, Prosperity with Purpose, is about taking a proactive approach to farm business management – to build the confidence and underlying capacity to weather any storm and seize opportunities, positioning the farm for continued success. Registration is free – visit

Wednesday, December 9 – The Virtual Learning for Life series, a weekly lecture program aimed at UM alumni and friends, will feature Carla Taylor, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences and Peter Zahradka on the topic “Eating to Live Longer and Better”. Register for the session at

Friday, December 11 – Save the date! The 25th Annual Fields on Wheels Conference is themed “Celebrating Achievement and Building Resilience in Agricultural Food Systems” and will take the form of a FREE webinar from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. More details and registration at

December 16-17 – The Manitoba Agronomists Conference 2020 is themed “Farm Health: The Agronomist’s Role”. CCA (Certified Crop Advisor) and CCSC (Certified Crop Science Consultant) CEUs (continuing education credits) are available for registered participants. Early Bird registration rate is $185 until November 27. Regular registration rate is $225 and registration deadline is December 11. Full program and registration at  Faculty, graduate students and agronomic consultants are encouraged to submit posters. See deadlines and submission details at



We were sad to learn of the passing of alumnus Dr. Vernon Burrows [BSA/ 51, MSc/53] on November 8. Known to many as “Dr. Oat”, he was a prolific and internationally recognized oat breeder who may be best know for developing AC Gehl, a hulless oat variety. He was deeply involved in bringing oats to China, and a statue was erected in the city of Baicheng in honour of his contributions – His obituary can be found at

Don Flaten and David Lobb, Soil Science, received Fellow Awards at the 2020 ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting held virtually last week. Don received the Agronomy Society of America Fellows Award and David received the Soil Science Society of America Fellows Award. The awards are a recognition by members of these Societies, who nominate “worthy colleagues based on their professional achievements and meritorious service”. For perspective, a mere 0.3% or less of the Societies’ active and emeritus members may be elected Fellow.

The Department of Plant Science welcomes new faculty member Dr. Curt McCartney as Associate Professor effective November 1, 2020.  Curt holds a PhD degree in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Manitoba.  From 2006 to 2010, he was an Assistant Professor in Plant Pathology at the University of Saskatchewan, and since 2010 held the position of Research Scientist in Cereal Crop genetics with AAFC, Morden, MB. Curt comes with 20 years between academic and government research experience in genetics and plant pathology and will be a real asset in furthering the success of the wheat breeding program at the University of Manitoba. Curt will also be teaching courses in plant breeding and genetics.

Martin Entz, Plant Science, and recent MSc grad Myra Van Die presented at Organic Connections November 6 on the topic “Improving soil health on organic farms through integrated management”.  Martin explained how cropping and grazing systems can be managed to maximize additions to the long-term soil carbon pool. Myra presented one of the farm case studies from her MSc on “Grass-fed livestock systems”.

Martin also gave a key note address to the National Farmers Union Annual Meeting on the topic “Agroecology Fits” on November 3.  

Will Bailey Elkin, graduate student in the Natural Systems Agriculture Lab, hosted a webinar on “Weed management in organic agriculture” on November 4. This month-long webinar series on weed management in organic production is being cohosted by the UM Natural Systems Ag Lab and the Manitoba Organic Alliance

The Department of Entomology is contributing to the Provinces’ efforts to battle COVID-19 by lending their Kingfisher extraction machine for high throughput DNA-RNA-purification-analysis along with some consumables. The machine was originally purchased through a CFI grant to Barb Sharanowski and Alejandro Costamagna and is part of a suite of tools in their molecular lab overseen by Jason Gibbs.

Graduate students Adam Franczyk, Jiayi Hang, Nancy Asen and Siwen Luo, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, recently presented their research findings at a research update for the NSERC CREATE program called CAPTURE:  A training program focused on the advancement of sustainable plant protein foods.  The CAPTURE program is a collaborative training program involving the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Alberta, and the University of Manitoba.

A collaborative project poster by Food and Human Nutritional Sciences students Hannah Derksen, Avery Penner, and Chantal Perchotte was awarded second place  in the category Social Sciences & Humanities in the 2020 University of Manitoba Undergraduate Research Poster Competition. The poster was titled “Exploring challenges faced by the charitable food sector in Manitoba during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic” and the students were supervised by Natalie Riediger and Joyce Slater. Student Anh Thi Dang placed third (Applied Sciences) for the poster “Effects of pre-treatment on phenolic compounds in yellow and black Mustard”, supervised by Usha Thiyam-Holländer.  Other students who participated in the competition include Michael Byun (supervisor Carla Taylor) and Maureen Cooper (Natalie Riediger). You can see the posters and video presentations at

Several graduate students presented at the Cereal & Grains 20 Online (AACI), which took place October 25-November 13:

Susane Trevisan, Food Science MSc student, presented her project “The relationship between wheat free asparagine content and gluten strength” and was co-authored by Yi Xie, James D. House, Ali Salimi Khorshidi and Martin G. Scanlon. Susane’s research, for the first time in Canada, aimed to reveal the relationship between the free asparagine content and the gluten strength of Canadian Hard Red Spring wheat varieties under the effects of genotype, environment and fertilization treatments. Susane’s work involves collaborations between the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences (FHNS), the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Winnipeg, Canada. Susane is certain that her findings will provide new and essential information to wheat growers and to the scientific community to help keep the unique quality of Canadian hard spring wheat cultivars while complying with international requirements for low free asparagine content.

Nasibeh Y. Sinaki, recent PhD graduate, also presented a talk entitled “Microwave assisted extrusion: An effective pulse-based snack product development tool” in the Processing-Consumer Demands section. The collaborators were Dr. M. Tugrul Masatcioglu, Dr. Jitendra Paliwal and Dr. Filiz Koksel. The high protein content of pulses makes them attractive ingredients for new product development strategies in the food industry. Nevertheless, there can be significant quality challenges when processing pulses into appealing foods. In this study, we showed that extrusion followed by microwave heating greatly improved the physical properties of extruded yellow pea and red lentil products which is beneficial for the development of high quality protein-rich expanded snacks.

Xiang Li, Food Science MSc student, presented poster titled “Investigating the effects of extrusion cooking on physical and nutritional quality of puffed snacks made from blends of barley and green lentil flours” in the “How do we meet the growing list of demand” poster section. The poster is co-authored with Dr. James D. House and Dr. Filiz Koksel. This presented study used blends of barley and green lentil flours and manipulated the extrusion parameters (feed moisture and die temperature) to explore the potential of producing nutritious puffed snacks without compromising their physical quality.

Siwen Luo, a PhD student in Food Science, presented a poster entitled “Physical and techno-functional properties of bread waste and yellow pea flour mixtures processed with low moisture extrusion”. The poster is regarding a research project that showed yellow pea-bread crumb blends can be processed using extrusion cooking to develop nutritious foods with a more balanced amino acid profile and improved physical as well as techno-functional properties. The study also indicated that using bread crumb-yellow pea blends in food industries also provided a new solution for bread waste. The co-author of this poster is Dr. Filiz Koksel.

Erin Goldberg, PhD in Human Nutritional Sciences, joined the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences as a Research Associate to work with Jim House on the Manitoba Protein Research Strategy.

Jim House, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, presented talks at the Bridge2Food Virtual 1st Global Plant-Based Foods and Proteins Research Conference, October 7-8 and the AOCS Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum, October, on issues related to sustainable protein and the human diet.  Jim also co-chaired a session at the AOCS forum related to Emerging Technologies for Plant Protein Quality-Based Supply Chains – Global Crops.

Jim was also interviewed by Mr. Larry Maguire, Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris, in relation to the recently announced Manitoba Protein Research Strategy.  This interview was posted to Mr. Maguire’s Facebook page:

Rotimi Aluko, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, presented a virtual seminar to the Department of Food Science & Technology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NB, on November 2 entitled “Bioactive peptides in human nutrition: from blood pressure regulation to immune modulation and bitter taste suppression”. Watch it at

Usha Thiyam Holländer, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, was featured on the AOCS blog in the Processing Division member spotlight (October 29) –  You can also see her discuss “Teaching in the time of Covid” –

Mengistu Wendimu, adjunct in Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, along with UM colleague Annette Desmarais (Sociology and Criminology), Darrin Qualman and André Magnan have authored the study “Concentration Matters: Farmland Inequality on the Prairies” for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives which examines ownership and control of Canadian farmland. Read more at



A feature story in UM Today highlights the Willy Wiebe Fellowship Award, and profiles several alumni who received it, including Silvia Barcellos Rosa, Marley Boyce and Pratisara Bajracharya. Read it at “A love for farming, a gift for research” –

Nate Ort, Plant Science MSc student and new Canola Council of Canada hire, was interviewed by RealAgriculture (November 16) on “Statistics for fun, physiology interests, and covering new ground” – watch the video at

Doug Cattani, Plant Science, Emma McGeough, Animal Science, and Francis Zvomuya, Soil Science, were featured in the article “Study looks at economics of wheatgrass as dual-purpose crop” in the Manitoba Co-operator (November 10) –

Myrna Grahn, project manager for Manitoba Industry-Academia Partnership, was interviewed in the UM Today (November 4) feature “Academics and industry tackle digital agriculture challenges” –

Mario Tenuta, Soil Science, was interviewed in the article “Fall surface N robs canola of $180 per acre” in the Western Producer (October 29) –

Mario was interviewed by RealAgriculture (October 30) on “Soil structure, cover crops, no-till, and measuring carbon — a LIVE! Q&A with Mario Tenuta” – watch the video at

Martin Scanlon, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, and his collaborators (Lovemore Malunga and Nancy Ames with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Winnipeg; Elaine Sopiwnyk at the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi); John Waterer with Paterson Grain; Richard Cuthbert with AAFC in Swift Current; and Belay Ayele at the University of Manitoba) and research team (Ali Salimi Khorshidi, Yi Xie, Susane Trevisan and Somy Khorami) were featured in the article “The Asparagine Challenge” in Top Crop Manager (West) (October 2020) –

Kelsey Wog, 4th year Plant Biotechnology student and Bison swimmer was noted in the article “Wog comfortable against world’s best” in the Winnipeg Free Press (November 16) – behind the paywall at



Friesen, G.M.A., S.R. Smith, D.J. Cattani and A.T. Phan. 2020. Characterizing genetically diverse blue grama [Bouteloua gracilis (Willd. ex Kunth) Lag. ex Griffiths] seed sources. Botany 98: 661–671 (2020)

Lasisi A. A., Kumaragamage D., and Akinremi O.O. 2020. Nitrification inhibitor reduces the inhibitory effect of N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT) on the hydrolysis of urea. Soil Sci Am. J. 84, 1782-1794.

Fu Y, Shi J, Xie S-Y, Zhang T-Y, Soladoye OP, Aluko RE. 2020. Red beetroot betalains: Perspectives on extraction, processing and bioactivity. J. Agric. Food Chem. 68, 11595−11611.

Fu Y, Zhang Y, Soladoye OP, Aluko RE. 2020. Maillard reaction products derived from food protein-derived peptides: insights into flavor and bioactivity. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. 60, 3429–3442.

Chunkao S, Youravong W, Yupanqui CT, Alashi AM, Aluko RE. 2020. Structure and function of mung bean protein-derived iron-binding antioxidant peptides. Foods 9, 1406.

The following two studies represent collaborative research supported by NSERC, Egg Farmers of Canada and the Manitoba Egg Farmers.  The data will help to define optimal levels of omega-3 fatty acids in pullet and laying hen diets for bird health and productivity.

Neijat M, Habtewold J, Li S, Jing M, House JD. Effect of dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on the composition of cecal microbiome of Lohmann hens. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2020 Sep 28;162:102182. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2020.102182. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33038831.

Neijat M, Zacek P, Picklo MJ, House JD. Lipidomic characterization of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine species of egg yolk lipid derived from hens fed flaxseed oil and marine algal biomass. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2020 Oct;161:102178. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2020.102178. Epub 2020 Sep 19. PMID: 32980739.

The following two studies reflect translational activities in relation to positioning sustainable proteins within the human diet, with a focus on the current regulatory frameworks that define how we communicate messages related to proteins to consumers

Mansilla WD, Marinangeli CPF, Cargo-Froom C, Franczyk A, House JD, Elango R, Columbus DA, Kiarie E, Rogers M, Shoveller AK. Comparison of methodologies used to define the protein quality of human foods and support regulatory claims. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2020 Sep;45(9):917-926. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2019-0757. Epub 2020 Jul 24. PMID: 32706267.

Fernandez MA, Bertolo RF, Duncan AM, Phillips SM, Elango R, Ma DWL, Desroches S, Grantham A, House JD. Translating “protein foods” from the new Canada’s Food Guide to consumers: knowledge gaps and recommendations. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2020 May 27:1-13. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2020-0192. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32459974.



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 25, 2021. More information about the nomination process including a list of previous recipients can be found at

PhD student Callum Morrison and Yvonne Lawley, Plant Science, have launched the 2020 Prairie Cover Crop Survey. Participants do not need to have grown a cover crop in 2020 to take part. They welcome participants who are thinking of using cover crops as well as those who grew a cover crop. The 2020 survey will be live from October 1st, 2020 – February 1st, 2021. To find out more and / or to take the survey go to

The 8th Native Prairie Restoration/Reclamation Workshop will be a virtual workshop, taking place February 1-5, 2021. The week-long event will include oral presentations, trade show, panel discussion, topic-focused networking sessions and a poster session. Their call for Poster Presentation Abstracts is now open. Deadline for abstracts is December 4. See more details at


© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341