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AG e-news September 25, 2020

September 25, 2020 — 

News and events from the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences


All this week we have been celebrating Farm and Food Awareness Week (#FarmFoodWeek)! See the great resources the Farm and Food Discovery Centre has been sharing daily at

Also, if you missed the livestream Faculty Special Presentation hosted by Dean Martin Scanlon yesterday, you can watch it at  The seminar featured  Robert Duncan, Plant Science, along with graduate students Zoe Li, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, and Jessica Nicksy, Soil Science.

Thursday, October 1 – The Advanced Plant Science Seminar Series begins with a presentation at 3:00 pm from Ms. Pam de Rocquigny, Chief Executive Officer, Manitoba Crop Alliance, on the topic “The Manitoba Crop Alliance and the Significant Role Farmers Play in Research”.  To watch, register at

Tuesday, October 6 – The Entomology Seminar Series features Dr. Maxime Damien, Department of Entomology, University of Manitoba on the topic “Flower diversity effects, from parasitoids life history to conservation biological control during winter”.  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, email kateryn [dot] rochon [at] umanitoba [dot] ca.

Thursday, October 8 – The Advanced Plant Science Seminar Series takes place at 3:00 pm with a presentation from Dr. Timothy Paulitz, Research Plant Pathologist, USDA-ARS; Adjunct Professor, Washington State University, on the topic “The Effect of Glyphosate on Soil Microbial Communities: Fake News vs. Facts”.  To watch, register at

Thursday, October 15 – The Advanced Plant Science Seminar Series takes place at 3:00 pm with a presentation from Ms. Jia Sun, PhD student, on the topic “Genome wide association and prediction in Brassica napus”.  To watch, register at

Tuesday, October 20 – The Entomology Seminar Series features Mr. Joel Gardner, Department of Entomology, University of Manitoba. “Revision of the Lasioglossum (Dialictus) (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) of the western Nearctic”.  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, email kateryn [dot] rochon [at] umanitoba [dot] ca.

December 16-17 – The Manitoba Agronomists Conference is still three months away but the dates have been set and they are preparing this year’s program already. Mark your calendar for this year’s online offering – more details to follow.



We were saddened to learn of the passing of alumna Peggy Framingham on August 27, 2020. A Home Economics grad of 1960, Peggy was an extension home economist and then a district home economist for Manitoba Agriculture. You can see her obituary at

Mario Tenuta, Soil Science, has been named the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Chair in 4R Nutrient Stewardship, with combined funding of $2,930,000 over five years. Read the full story at

Song Liu, Biosystems Engineering, was a recipient in the Manitoba COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Competition through Research Manitoba, for the project “Potent Renewable Anti-Viral Face Mask” valued at $200,063. See the complete competition results at

Four FAFS academics were recently presented with 2019 Merit Awards, which recognize faculty members for their outstanding teaching, research, scholarly work and creative activities, and service. Recipients receive $3,000.  In the Life Sciences, Natural Sciences and Engineering area, Dilantha Fernando, Plant Science, was recognized in the Combination category.  Fuji Jian, Biosystems Engineering, and Chengbo Yang, Animal Science, were recognized in the Research, Scholarly Work and Creative Activities category. Claudia Narvaez, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, was recognized in the Teaching category.

Nandika Bandera, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, received the Outstanding Volunteer Award – Food Chemistry Division, Institute of Food Technologist (IFT) for the volunteer contribution to the division during 2019-2020 term.  He was also appointed as “Chair Designate” of the Food Chemistry Division at IFT for the 2020-2021 term. Nandika was re-appointed as an Associate Editor in the “Food Chemistry” journal for another 3-year term (2020-2023).

Jonathan Rosset, recent Plant Science MSc graduate, and Nikki Hawrylyshen, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences PhD student, were selected to receive the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Graduate Student Teaching Award of Merit. These awards are given annually to individuals who excel in teaching an agricultural discipline.

Ehsan Zarrinabadi, Soil Science PhD student, was awarded Manitoba Zero Tillage Research Association (MZTRA) Fellowship. This is awarded annually to encourage research pertaining to soil conservation with reduced tillage techniques.

The Department of Soil Science welcomes new faculty member Dr. Xiaopeng Gao as Assistant Professor effective September 1, 2020. Xiaopeng holds a Bachelor’s degree in Soil Chemistry from Shanxi Agricultural University in China, a Masters in Plant Nutrition from China Agriculture University, and a PhD in Soil Science from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He was a project coordinator for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and a research associate in the Department of Soil Science, University of Manitoba, before joining the department as an academic member. He will be teaching soil fertility courses, and will develop a research program on optimizing and advancing soil fertility and nutrient management in sustainable cropping systems to achieve agronomic, environmental and social benefits. See his profile at

We welcomed Dr. Inoka Amarakoon to the Department of Soil Science earlier this summer. Read her profile at

The Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences welcomes Dr. Maneka Malalgoda as Assistant Professor in Grain Chemistry and Processing Quality as of September 1. Maneka completed her Ph.D. at the North Dakota State University and went on to do her postdoctoral training at the University of Minnesota. Maneka’s research expertise is in the area of grain chemistry and processing, and her research focuses on three main areas, namely, grain protein and starch chemistry, functionality and end-use quality of grains and the biological activity of grains and grain components. In her research, Maneka investigates, structure-function relationship of grain proteins and starch, modifications to improve  functionality, factors impacting grain chemistry and end-use quality and the biological significance of grain components such as dietary fibre on human gut microbiota. Read a brief profile of Maneka at

The Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of Jay Bourcier as Operations Manager for the University of Manitoba’s Glenlea Research Station. Jay will provide leadership in the operations and maintenance of the research station in support of the research, teaching and outreach goals of the Faculty. Read the full story at

Please join us in welcoming Breanne Mitenko to the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences as the newest member of Student Services. As an Academic Advisor and the Faculty’s Awards Coordinator, Breanne is the primary contact for all faculty awards, bursaries and scholarships and supports the Student Services team with general student inquires, student registration and program planning. Breanne comes to us with a wealth of knowledge from her previous positions at U of M in the areas of Enrolment Services and Financial Aid and Awards. She has seven years of post-secondary experience and holds a Library & Information Technology Diploma from Red River College as well as a Bachelor of Professional Arts in Communications from Athabasca University.

The School of Agriculture also has some staff announcements. Georges Carrière is the School’s new Administrative Assistant.  Georges will be responsible for the School’s financial and human resource support services and operations management.  He will also coordinate services for delivery of the School’s short courses, workshops and special events.  Georges has over 20 years of experience at the University of Manitoba providing administrative support in the Departments of: Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Geological Sciences, Career Services and Conference and Catering Services. Vanessa Falk has been providing support for the Diploma in Agriculture Program this past year in a project position.  She has recently been appointed to a continuing part-time Office Assistant position with the School providing support to Instructors and to Diploma Council. Laryssa Stevenson served as the 2019 Conference Coordinator for the Manitoba Agronomist Conference.  She has recently been appointed to a continuing part-time Conference Coordinator position and is preparing for the 2020 conference which will take place December 16 and 17.



Kristen Matwychuk, Farm and Food Discovery Centre, was featured on CTV Morning Live (September 24) in the clip “Farm and Food Awareness Week going virtual” –

Rob Currie, Entomology, was interviewed in the article “Queens, drones and bees that fly backwards” in the Manitoba Co-operator (September 23) –

Mario Tenuta, Soil Science, was featured in the PembinaValleyOnline article (September 15) “U Of M Professor Named NSERC Industrial Research Chair In 4R Nutrient Stewardship” –

The Food Systems Vision Prize proposal which includes Martin Entz, Plant Science, and the Natural Systems Agriculture Lab was featured in the article “Rewriting the outcome on the future of agriculture” in the Manitoba Co-operator (September 15) –  It was also featured in the article “Project proposes alternative vision of future life on the Prairies” in the Western Producer (August 27) –

Reg Dyck, School of Agriculture, was part of a video panel discussion hosted by Glacier FarmMedia which ran as part of Ag in Motion and Canada’s Digital Farm Show –

Our academics have been contributing to the new publication Better Farming Prairies since early this year – below are the articles so far:
Martin Entz, Plant Science, with the article “Research advances from long-term trials” July/Aug –
Derek Brewin, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, with the article “The economics of rotations” Mar –
Yvonne Lawley, Plant Science, with the article “Cover crop research across the prairies” Feb –

Terry Galloway, Entomology, was interviewed by CBC Radio Noon (August 24) about giant water bugs.

Martin Nyachoti and Chengbo Yang, Animal Science, were featured in the Swine Innovation Porc bulletin (August 2020) –



Choi, J. *, Li W.,* Schindell, B.,* Ni, L.,*, Liu, S.,* Zhao, X.,* Gong, J., Nyachoti, M., and YANG, C. (2020). Molecular cloning, tissue distribution and expression of cystine/glutamate exchanger in different tissues during development in broiler chickens. Animal Nutrition, 6: 107-114.

Huang, L., Ren, P., Ouyang, Z., Wei, T., Kong, X., Li, T., Yin, Y., He, S., YANG, C., He, Q. (2020). Effect of fermented feed on growth performance, holistic metabolism and fecal microbiota in weanling piglets. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 26:114505.

Chen F., Hou L., Zhu L., YANG C., Zhu F., Qiu H., Qin S. (2020). Effects of selenide chitosan sulfate on glutathione system in hepatocytes and specific pathogen free chickens. Poultry Science, 99: 3979-3986.

Hui, Q.*, Ammeter, E. *, Liu, S.*, Yang, R.*, Lu, P.*, Lahaye, L., YANG, C. (2020). Eugenol attenuates inflammatory responses and enhance barrier functions during lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in porcine intestinal epithelial (IPEC-J2) cells. Journal of Animal Science, 98 (8): 1-13. skaa245.

Lu, P.*, Choi, J.*, Yang, C.*, Mogire, M*., Liu, S.*, Lahaye, L., Adewole, D.*, Rodas-Gonzalez, A., YANG, C. (2020). Effects of antibiotic growth promotor and dietary protease on growth performance, apparent ileal digestibility, intestinal morphology, meat quality and intestinal gene expression in broiler chickens: a comparison. Journal of Animal Science, 98 (9): 1-13. skaa255.


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