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Health, wellness driving VRIC research


June 29, 2011
By Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

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June 29, 2011, Vineland,
Ont – Three new research scientists have joined the Vineland Research and
Innovation Centre (VRIC). Dr. Bernard Goyette (post harvest technologies), Dr.
Valerio Primomo (vegetable breeder), and Dr. Anissa Poleatewich (plant
pathology), bring their respective research expertise and experience to
Vineland.

June 29, 2011, Vineland,
Ont – Three new research scientists have joined the Vineland Research and
Innovation Centre (VRIC)
. Dr. Bernard Goyette (post harvest technologies), Dr.
Valerio Primomo (vegetable breeder), and Dr. Anissa Poleatewich (plant
pathology), bring their respective research expertise and experience to
Vineland.

“So much of horticulture
is focused on the fresh market,” said Dr. Jim Brandle, Vineland CEO. “Having a
differentiated product, particularly with healthy, local or sustainable
attributes, is essential to meeting market demand and creating a favourable
price point for the grower. The work of Dr. Goyette, Dr. Primomo and Dr.
Poleatewich in areas of storage, handling, packaging, biocontrol and variety
breeding will also positively influence the national discussion on Canadian
food security and food sovereignty.”

Dr. Poleatewich has
joined Vineland from Penn State University. Her area of research will include
development of biocontrols and other alternatives to chemical pesticides for
control of plant diseases and weeds with an emphasis on integrated pest management
in vegetable, fruit and ornamental crops grown in Ontario. Diseases in these
crops continue to be a major challenge for growers. Dr. Poleatewich will start
work immediately in assessing plant pathogen threats to local varieties of
ethno-cultural vegetables, and more broadly diseases in storage.

Dr. Bernard Goyette
joins Vineland from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). He is concerned
with postharvest handling, including pre-cooling, storage and packaging to
maximize quality. Dr. Goyette is also studying the effects of physical
treatments on vegetables to enhance quality attributes of fresh produce.
Initial work in tomatoes has proven highly successful in increasing levels of
lycopene.

“I recently met with Dr.
Goyette to discuss immediate issues for the tender fruit industry,” said Len
Troup, chair of the Ontario Tender Producers’ Marketing Board. “Our growers
produce superb product but proper handling and storage management practices
continue to be a challenge. To hold a premium place in the market we need
product to reach the consumer in its best possible condition which also
includes consumer-tested and technology-proven packaging.”

Dr. Primomo comes to
Vineland from Pioneer Hi-Bred as a molecular breeder for several crops. At
Vineland, he will deliver germplasm, varieties and traits to the vegetable
industry that will have commercial value to Canadian growers. Dr. Primomo
begins his work with an assessment of worldwide breeding programs and genetic
seed banks that could have value for breeding varieties adapted to Canadian
growing regions.

“As food producers we
are also in the health business,” said Anne Fowlie, executive vice president of
the Canadian Horticultural Council. “Horticulture has an important role to
play when it comes to the health of Canadians. Diet and lifestyle related
health care costs Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars each year ($4.3
billion in 2004). In Ontario alone, the provincial government was expected to
spend approximately 46 per cent of its total budget on health care in 2010. We
are collaborating with Vineland to lead research that is focused on
locally-produced fruits and vegetables that will contribute to a healthy diet.”


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