Global leader in food safety research leaves a deep legacy
Passion and dedication of the late Ronald Marquardt live on in his students, immeasurable contributions to the field
UM researcher and retired professor emeritus Dr. Ronald R. Marquardt was passionate about the advancement of science. A prolific researcher and writer, he authored a total of 469 publications during his career. His research breakthroughs in biochemistry and biology resulted in two patents and the founding of three companies.
On September 2, 2023, Marquardt passed away at the age of 88. He began his professorship with UM Faculty of Agriculture in 1967. Over his 33-year teaching career he trained 26 PhD and master’s students as well as six post-doctoral fellows, for which he was awarded the UM Graduate Students’ Association Teaching Award.
“Dr. Marquardt’s contributions to the Faculty and to the field of animal nutrition were immeasurable and continue to live on through the students he mentored and the innovative companies he founded,” said Dr. Martin Scanlon, Dean, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. “His dedication to his discipline has left an indelible mark on the global scientific community.”
Through his research program focused on improving food safety, Marquardt mentored 32 research associates and visiting scientists from nine countries. His research accomplishments were recognized internationally with the Jangsu Province (China) Friendship Award of Excellence in Cooperative Work, the Canadian Society of Animal Science Award of Merit, the Shur-gain Award for Excellence in Nutrition and Meat Sciences and the Sigma Xi Senior Scientist Award.
Marquardt took on many leadership roles locally and internationally. In 2000 he served as an Expert Evaluator for the European Commission on Food Quality and Safety and as a member of the Institut de Recerca & Tecnologia Agroalimentaries Scientific Advisory Commission in Barcelona, Spain from 2001-2004. He would also serve on the University Manitoba Senate, where he was active as a member of many committees.
Marquardt’s research has led to many breakthroughs in the identification and control of toxins in animal feeds and the nutritional enhancement of cereal grains through the use of enzymes. Marquardt founded his first company, Zyme Fast Canada, in 2001 with complementary production facilities in Manitoba and Changsha, China.
In 2005 Marquart became the founding President and CEO of the Manitoba-based company, All Natural Nutritional Products, specializing in the production of rutin, a buckwheat-based nutraceutical used for its pigment and citrus flavour. Marquardt’s novel production method, allowing rutin to be produced inexpensively at large scale, continues to be optimized by researchers at the UM Richardson Centre for Food Technology and Research.
Marquardt launched his third company, Mycotox Solutions Inc. in 2014 to develop his research in neutralizing fungal toxins present in animal feeds for an industrial scale. Fungal toxins can cause irreversible damage to livestock that cost producers an estimated $5 billion USD annually. In May of this year this research led to the first world-wide patent for binding and neutralizing fungal toxins using synthetic antibodies.
“Dr. Ronald Marquardt leaves a deep legacy through the students he trained and private sector partnerships he fostered, both here in Manitoba and internationally,” said Dr. Mario Pinto, UM Vice-President (Research and International). “Over his decades-long career Dr. Marquardt’s research impacts were many and continue into 2023 with new patents and successful business ventures. His dedication and leadership will be greatly missed throughout the Manitoba research community.”
Dr. Ronald Marquardt will be remembered by his wife Marie, their four children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Messages of condolence or memory can be added to his obituary. The family is hosting a casual, informal come-and-go open house at the Marquardt residence, 878 Kilkenny Drive from 2 to 4 pm on Saturday November 4th.