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Sustainable car parts from soy
Soybean oil could be a green alternative to synthetic based auto parts.
University of Guelph plant scientists Drs. Manju Misra, Amar Mohanty and Istvan Rajcan are evaluating the compatibility of soy oil in auto parts production. Their project analyzes the fatty acid qualities of 15 genetically modified and conventional soybean varieties and determines which are best suited to replace synthetic materials in seat foam and similar parts.
Polyols derived from soy oil can have unique effects on certain materials such as seat foam and may be have improved mechanical and thermal properties.
As well, finding an appropriate alternative to synthetic materials is environmentally friendly and economically beneficial. Misra says the benefits are multi-fold.
“Soybeans are a sustainable, environmentally friendly source of industrial materials, and applying this resource to the automotive market could open doors for producers,” she says.
“Soybean growers in Ontario and elsewhere are well positioned to fill our environmental and economic needs.”
Funding for this research is provided by the OMAFRA/UofG bioeconomy project, Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association. •
Combating glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed
Farmers are getting an upper hand in the fight against glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed.
Drs. François Tardif, Peter Sikkema and Darren Robinson, along with graduate students Amanda Green and Joe Vink, are investigating the distribution and ways to control glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed.
The herbicide glyphosate works by inhibiting an enzyme responsible for the production of amino acids within the plant.
Reduced translocation – the process by which a plant moves the herbicide to other parts of the plant – plays a role in making ragweed resistant to glyphosate.
With this in mind, the researchers took samples from 102 fields in Southwestern Ontario in the fall or 2009 and 2010.
Of those samples, 47 contained glyphosate resistant giant ragweed in Essex, Chatham-Kent and Lambton counties.
Several herbicide tank mixes were evaluated. The tank mix of Roundup Weathermax plus 2,4-D ester applied at 1.67 and 0.76 litres per hectare respectively was most effective and provided 98 percent control.
Vink says this information is essential to preserving future yields.
“It’s an insurance policy,” he says. “By knowing where glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed is located and what control methods work best, producers can better prepare for managing this troublesome weed.”
Funding was provided in part by Grain Farmers of Ontario and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council. •
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.