Research to develop a natural food preservative, derived from cereal grains, is one of five projects supported by wes tern Canadian farmers through the 2009 CWB postgraduate awards program.
If successful, the research could create an important new value-added market for Prairie wheat and barley, which would be used to produce a mould-fighting preservative.
Scientists at the University of Alberta’s Agri-Food Discovery Place hope to meet the food industry’s need for a natural alternative to practices like irradiation and atmospheric packaging for extending the shelf life of food products.
Another funded research project, at the University of Manitoba, focuses on the battle against fusarium head blight in spring wheat, a disease that damages crops in the eastern Prairies each year.
At the University of Saskatchewan, one student award recipient will evaluate policies for grain transportation in Western Canada and another will study Australia’s Grain Research Development Corporation.
The final recipient, a student at the University of Manitoba, will examine the role the CWB plays in the grain industry supply chain.
“Agricultural research is vital to farmers,” said Larry Hill chair of the CWB’s producer-controlled board of directors. “Research improves plant genetics, develops new markets for our grain and helps us assess policy issues that affect our bottom lines. Projects funded by farmers through the CWB also help train and develop our next generation of agricultural researchers.”
The CWB annually supports research into diverse areas of benefit to western Canadian grain farmers. This year’s awards include four graduate fellowships, valued at $33,000 each, and an agricultural economics scholarship valued at $25,000.
The funds come from the CWB’s special account, made up of uncashed producer cheques and interest.