Many types of soil microbes influence crop growth, health and yields. Figuring out how to harness these tiny organisms to enhance crop production is chockfull of intriguing challenges and potential benefits, as George Lazarovits knows.
Hydrogen sulfide is a toxic, colorless, flammable gas – a by-product of anaerobic bacterial reduction of sulfates. Any time manure is being agitated or when shallow-pit plugs are pulled there is a potential for airborne concentrations of H2S to become elevated, potentially putting both workers and pigs at risk of being overexposed.
A virtual cornucopia of wild edibles and non-timber products is ready to be harvested in the woodlands and boreal forests of Western Canada.
Series of new initiatives for supply-managed producers, processors to support them throughout the implementation of TPP and Canada-EU Trade Agreement.
Researchers at MSU have built a molecular Swiss Army knife that streamlines the molecular machinery of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae.
Honey Bee AirFLEX...
North American Manure Expo comes to Canada...
For the first time ever, the North American Manure Expo is being hosted within a Canadian province. The annual show is being held August 20 and 21, 2013, at the University of Guelph’s Arkell Research Station, located near Guelph, Ontario. So, what's a Manure Expo and why should you attend? This video will provide all the dirt.
Expert Dr. Susan Watkins discusses Water Sanitatio...
Expert Dr. Susan Watkins discusses Water Sanitation
The population explosion...
With the world's population increasing exponentially and farmland staying the same, BASF took to the streets to ask consumers if this trend is sustainable.
October 7, 2015, Gainesville, FL – Young consumers are more likely to buy peaches than older people, and those 18- to 24-year-olds prefer crisp, firm peaches with good flavour, a new University of Florida study shows. In fact, people aged 51 to 68 are the least interested in buying peaches. Those of that age who do buy peaches prefer sweet, melting-texture peaches. Although they did not study the reason older people don’t like peaches as much, UF/IFAS scientists think older consumers may have repeatedly bought poor-quality peaches in the past, triggering an interest in other fruits. “It was refreshing to see young consumers being interested in purchasing fruit and peaches in particular,” said Mercy Olmstead, assistant professor in horticultural sciences and lead author of the study. “Most of the breeding efforts here at UF have been directed toward peaches with non-melting, firmer texture, so having the younger generation prefer crisp, firm peaches was exciting.” Overall, consumers want sweet, tasty peaches that melt in your mouth, she said. In the newly published study, titled: In Pursuit of the Perfect Peach, Olmstead led an experiment in which 300 consumers took an online survey, then sampled peaches at two Florida farmers’ markets. The study showed the “ideal peach” depended on combinations of fruit qualities. Peaches labeled as “so sweet … no sugar was needed” were most likely to be purchased, reflecting what previous UF/IFAS research has found about strawberries and blueberries. Furthermore, like the prior UF/IFAS research on blueberries, even though peaches are known to contain antioxidants, consumers buy them more for their taste than their nutritive value, the study showed. Although consumers wanted sweet, absolute sugar concentrations, there is something other than sweetness that leads to overall liking, the study showed. It could be acid content and aromas, Olmstead said. What do consumers not want? Mealy, pasty, dry peaches, another mirror of the UF/IFAS studies on blueberries and strawberries. Most consumers prefer melting peaches, but small segments also like crisp and firm fruit, the study showed. “The fact that consumers desire both melting and non-melting texture peaches reinforces the fact that there are market niches for many types of peach textures,” Olmstead said. “For example, great strides have been made to offer fresh cut peaches that require firm peach varieties.” From a botanical standpoint, peaches, considered a “stone fruit,” are classified by their texture as either melting, non-melting or stony hard. Melting flesh peaches become softer as they ripen and will essentially “melt in your mouth” when they are mature. Non-melting flesh remains firm when fully mature, and are typical for use in commercial canning. The study is published online in the August issue of the journal HortScience.
October 7, 2015, Guelph, Ont – It can be a real challenge for farmers to match their supply of fresh fruits and vegetables with consumer demand – especially at the height of the harvest when there is often an excess of fresh produce on the market, which can lower prices to growers. The new bins, designed for use in cold storage facilities, may help solve that problem by extending the shelf life of perishable crops to give farmers more flexibility with their marketing decisions. “Reducing oxygen levels slows down the ripening process of fruits and vegetables, and our module is an air-tight container that can store fresh produce in a low oxygen environment,” explains Vincent Nicoletis, general manager of Janny MTCA, the Canadian subsidiary of the product’s French manufacturer, Janny MT. The storage bin lids contain semi-permeable membranes that release carbon dioxide from the bin while maintaining a small concentration of oxygen inside, and can achieve concentration levels of three per cent for both oxygen and carbon dioxide. The normal concentration in the atmosphere or in a cold storage room is approximately 20.9 per cent for oxygen and 0.1 per cent for carbon dioxide. Dr. Jennifer DeEll, fresh market quality program lead with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, is leading a two-year project to test the effectiveness of the modified atmosphere storage bin on Ontario crops. In 2014, her team worked with asparagus, cherries, plums, apples, and pears, and this year trials are being conducted on blueberries at Blueberry Hill Estates near St. Williams, Ont. “Overall, we’re finding that the bins do extend the storage life. Blueberries also generally respond well to modified atmosphere storage, so we’re hoping to find the same thing this year with the blueberries as well,” she explains. For this year’s trial, four of the new bins were filled with blueberries and placed into cold storage. Each week for four weeks, a gas sample is taken from one of the bins to make sure it is providing the expected environment. This bin is then opened and the fruit is removed and weighed before it is taken to a lab to be analyzed for acidity, colour, sugar, juice, firmness and overall quality. The technology lends itself particularly well to smaller operations with on-farm markets or who sell to farmers’ markets. For example, Nicoletis says the storage bin will give apple and pear growers more time to sell their crops on the higher value fresh market instead of having to look for wholesale or processing markets. Growers of crops with a short shelf life, like asparagus, blueberries and cherries, can hold back part of their production to sell at a later date when the price might be higher, but without affecting product quality. “The main benefit for consumers is fresh, local produce available for longer,” he adds. The Janny MT module evaluation project has received funding from Ontario Agri-Food Technologies’ (OAFT) Rapid Response to Research Needs program. OAFT is supported by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. More information about the modified atmosphere storage modules can be found at www.jannymtca.com.
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