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Agricultural research gets $2 million boost in Saskatchewan


Saskatoon, SK — February 17, 2003 — University of Saskatchewan researchers have been awarded nearly C$2 million by the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) for new agricultural research.

Eighteen wide-ranging projects have been funded, including developing an anti-pneumonia vaccine for cattle, a mushroom-based product for hypertension relief, a flax product as an alternative to plastic, more tender bison meat, and blight prevention in chickpeas. Details on the specific projects are below.

“These innovative projects will advance Saskatchewan agricultural research in critical areas of food safety and animal and human health, leading to very practical benefits for producers,” says Pierre Hucl, co-ordinator of agricultural research at the university.

The new money is part of a $3.12-million investment for 35 projects across the province announced last week by Clay Serby, Saskatchewan’s deputy premier and minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Revitalization.

The 18 approved University of Saskatchewan projects include:

– Testing of prototype vaccines for pasteurella multocida pneumonia in cattle to identify antigens of p. multocida and test their vaccine potential in cattle; isolation and characterization of the genes coding for two p.multocida antigens, LppB and TfbA, which code for bacterial outer membrane proteins; determine their vaccine potential in an experimental challenge model. Andrew Potter, tel: (306) 966-7484. Approved: $100,000.00

– Proteomic investigation of molecular basis of stress and disease resistance in cattle to understand the molecular basis of disease resistance and stress responses at both the systemic and local level. Palok Aich, tel: (306) 966-7508. Approved: $161,450.00

– Prevalence and risk factors for antibiotic resistance in fecal E. coli isolated from cows during calving season in western Canada. Cheryl Waldner, tel: (306) 966-7168. Approved: $15,408.00

– Induction of protective mucosal immunity against colibacillosis in post-weaning pigs to develop new vaccines for mucosal immunization against the F4 that can overcome tolerance induction and achieve protective herd immunity. Volker Gerdts, tel: (306) 966-7479. Approved: $129,000.00

– Investigation into the biology of temphylium botryosum, a potentially new pathogen in lentil production in Saskatchewan, to investigate the effect of plant age, the optimum of various environmental factors for S. botryosum, such as temperature and wet periods, the effect of stemphylium blight on biomass and seed production of lentil and the level of seed transmission. Sabine Banniza, tel: (306) 966-2619. Approved: $31,950.00

– Investigation into the population structure of ascochyta lentis project aims at investigating the diversity and virulence of current isolates of A. lentis found in Saskatchewan lentil fields by pathogenicity testing and RAPD-PCR. Sabine Banniza, tel: (306) 966-2619. Approved: $33,200.00

– Strategy for genetic improvement of ascochyta blight resistance in chickpeas to examine whether different genes for partial resistance to ascochyta blight are present in the resistant lines currently available. Tom Warkentin, tel: (306) 966-2371. Approved: $277,729.00

– Improving agronomic performance and quality of Saskatchewan-grown cumin and milk thistle; introduction/development of new/improved lines of cumin and milk thistle pathology. Doug Waterer, tel: (306) 966-5860. Approved: $144,000.00

– Flax-based biocomposites: rotational molding product development and commercialization to manufacture flax-based biocomposite product via the rotational molding process by using pretreated flax fiber, which acts as a natural theremoplastic as well as reinforcing material. Lope Tabil, tel: (306) 966-5317. Approved: $116,000.00

– Integrated management solutions for powdery scab of seed and table potatoes to examine a range of control strategies for powdery scab in potato with the objective of developing an integrated approach to its control. Doug Waterer, tel: (306) 966-5860. Approved: $113,400.00

– Domestic fruit development program: grower-assisted fruit breeding and value-added research. Robert H Bors, tel: (306) 966-8583. Approved: $120,000.00

– Influence of aging and various tenderization techniques on the palatability and processing characteristics of bison meat to standardize and optimize the aging period for bison meat in order to achieve a tender product. Ronald Pegg, tel: (306) 966-2680. Approved: $124,250.00

– Improving the quality profile of dry beans using genetic and metabolic approaches to investigate aspects of quality. Kirstin Bett, tel: (306) 966-4947. Approved: $71,500.00

– Development of natural anti-hypertension pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products extracted from Saskatchewan wild mushrooms. Rui Wang, tel: (306) 966-6592. Approved: $123,790.00

– Extension of Saskatchewan organic on-farm research: Part II: Soil fertility and weed management to investigate the ability of specific organic amendments to increase plant available phosphorous to evaluate the performance of crop varieties under organic management. Steve Shirtliff, tel: (306) 966-4959. Approved: $82,000.00

– Flax varieties and weed control for organic farming production to assess the concept of early flowering flax varieties and their interaction with agronomic practises in the production of organic flaxseed and to develop advanced lines of these early flowering types. Gordon Rowland, tel: (306) 966-4977. Approved: $135,000.00

– Development of a low lignin hull, high-energy oat as a superior ruminant feed grain for domestic and export markets. The objectives of this continuing project are to evaluate the feed value of LLH-HOG oat and develop a superior feed grain oat characterized by a low lignin/highly digestible hull (LLH). Brian Rossnagel, tel: (306) 966-4976. Approved: $137,000.00

– Selection of Italian and prosso millets for birdseed or forage to assess early-maturing millet lines for grain yield across a wider range of environments to re-assess early and later-maturing lines for forage yield. Pierre Hucl, tel: (306) 966-8667. Approved: $59,110.00