Charlottetown, PEI – A new greenhouse, a key component for the Atlantic Canada Network on Bioactive Compounds, has been officially opened. The network investigates the health benefits of wild rosehips and wild blueberries. It is a pan-Atlantic collaboration of independent researchers, universities, industry, and government agencies, centred within the Faculty of Science at the University of Prince Edward Island.
Wild rose cuttings are grown in the greenhouse, and are then planted in the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Experimental Farm in addition to other PEI, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick farming fields. Investigations are currently being conducted to study the best growth conditions to produce the rosehip fruit. Rosehips, like blueberries, are known to contain not only vitamins, but also compounds called antioxidants. Antioxidants are linked to the prevention and treatment of certain diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
The overall objective of the project is to determine which strain of wild roses produces the most chemically valuable rosehips, and then how farmers can grow these most efficiently.
“A project of this nature has led us to the creation of a research and development initiative within Technology PEI to support initiatives that involve both industry and academia in progressing research to the point of commercialization,” said Mike Currie, Minister of Development and Technology. “Anytime we can find value- added or alternative uses for underutilized land in PEI, we increase the value and efficiency of both our agricultural and bioscience communities.”
The greenhouse’s operating parameters, such as temperature, humidity, misting and shading, are computer regulated. The controls can also be accessed remotely to allow consistent monitoring by staff.