Research roundup

FIND OUT WHAT’S NEW IN THE WORLD OF RESEARCH

UNCOVERING THE MYSTERY OF OAT GROAT STORAGE
Allison Sears
Canadian consumers are increasingly demanding oat products because of their whole grain properties and gluten-free status. However, varying storage conditions and temperatures are making it difficult to meet this demand, prompting researchers to find ways to improve the quality of oat products.

Oats are vulnerable to becoming rancid in storage. That’s because after harvest they’re dehulled, a process which removes the outer protective barrier of the oat grain. This process exposes the oat groat (the dehulled oat) to oxidative and enzymatic changes.

If the storage temperature is too high, lipids within the oat decompose, resulting in a bitter taste and off odour.

Dr. Sanaa Ragaee, an adjunct professor and cereal program manager at the University of Guelph, is trying to discover the temperature and unseen factors at which rancidity develops during storage.

Once Ragaee knows this information, she can further suggest the ideal storage conditions to increase oat shelf life. Canadian producers, distributors, and consumers all stand to benefit.

Results from this study could also benefit animal feed companies and brewing industries through the availability of higher quality oats.

Research associate Pragyani Bora is also involved in this project.

Funding for this project is provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

MINIMIZING WEED INTERFERENCE TO MAXIMIZE RETURN
Allison Sears
Early weed management in corn and soybeans gives farmers a distinct yield advantage, says a University of Guelph researcher.

Ridgetown professor Dr. Peter Sikkema has conducted studies over an eight-year period on the effect of weed interference in soybean and corn.

These studies have revealed that weed interference causes an average yield loss of 37 per cent in soybeans and 57 per cent in corn.

Sikkema’s research indicates that the most critical time for weed management is early in the development of the crop. Growers who implement early weed management practices from the time of the crop’s emergence through to the critical weed-free period will realize a substantial return on investment.

Studies in soybeans conclude that if the crop is maintained weed free from emergence through the second trifoliate leaf stage (when the leaves are compound with three leaflets) they will not incur any yield loss.

Similarly, corn should be kept weed free from emergence until the six-leaf stage.

The emergence of weeds after the second trifoliate in soybeans and six-leaf stage in corn rarely impacts crop yields. However, late emerging weeds may interfere with harvest, result in a poorer sample at the point of sale and may return weed seeds to the soil causing future concerns.

This research was conducted at the Huron Research Station, the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus, and the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research station located in Harrow, Ontario.

The collaborator for this research was Dr. Robert Nurse from the Greenhouse and Processing Crops Research Centre in Harrow, Ontario.

Funding for this research was provided by the University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. •

Research Roundup is provided by members of SPARK (Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge) at the University of Guelph’s Office of Research. For more information, contact a SPARK writer at 519-824-4120, ext. 52667.

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