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MAY 2014

Four Macdonald Alumni were recently honoured by the McGill Alumni Association at its May 8th Honours and Awards Banquet

Gretta Chambers Student Leadership Award

Bernice Ting, BSc(FSc)’14

Bernice is an exceptional student volunteer on the Macdonald Campus and has been active in a variety of student groups and campus projects since she began her studies.  She was an organizer of the hugely successful Food Science 25th Anniversary Symposium.  She has been a committee member for the Food Science Association, a waste auditor with McGill Gorilla composting, and the head coordinator of the Global Food Box, which offers fresh fruit and vegetables to McGill students.  She is the Accounts Manager and HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) Coordinator of the Out-of-the-Garden Project at Macdonald, which recently won a Catalyst Award from the McGill Office of Sustainability.

The faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has recognized Bernice’s commitment to he studies by awarding her two scholarships and naming her a recipient of a Macdonald Medal in 2011 and 2012.  The Macdonald division of the MAA recently presented her with the Gold Key Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to extra-curricular activities on the Mac Campus.

“Becoming a student leader has been about getting involved in projects that I’m passionate about,” says Bernice.

Distinguished Service Award

Marc Bieler, DipAgr’58, BA’64, and Marie Bieler, BSc(Agr)’80

Marc and Marie Bieler are exemplary members of the McGill community.  Marc Bieler, president of Atoka Cranberries and Canada’s “Cranberry King”, has supported McGill since 1964.  In 2007 he joined the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Advisory Board, where he has been a vigorous supporter of Faculty initiatives such as the McGill Conferences on Global Food Security, the McGill Institute for Global Food Security, and the McGill Food Safety and Quality Program.

In 2009, the Bielers donated $1 million to the Faculty to create the Bieler Family Internship Program, which supports internships for Macdonald students.  This gift has not only increased opportunities for students but has also allowed the faculty to strengthen ties with major industry partners locally, nationally and internationally.  Their objectives, says Marie, are to “build and share fundamental knowledge, to encourage youth to be better equipped for their work, and to connect knowledge and research through internships with industry.”

Says Marc, “My McGill education solidified my passion for agriculture, for food, and for entrepreneurship.”  The Bielers share this passion by speaking to students frequently on issues related to agricultural research and enterprise, and they have also made their cranberry farms and research labs available to McGill staff and students for teaching and research.

David Johnston Award for Leadership in Philanthropy

Chandra Madramootoo, BSc (AgrEng)’77, MSc’81, PhD’85

Chandra Madramootoo is Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Associate vice-Principal of McGill.  His long tenure – serving since 2005 – is a testament to the respect he carries among faculty, staff, students and alumni.

As a young academic, he served as a volunteer on the local McGill Alumni Association board, bringing that all-important Macdonald Campus perspective to the table.  Under his leadership, the Faculty has thrived, and the bond with Mac donors, alumni and volunteers has grown even stronger. He has led alumni, faculty and staff in supporting important initiatives such as the $7.5-million Macdonald Library and Learning Centre, and the $4.25-million state-of-the-art Mary Catherine Freeman Food Laboratories and Frederick N. Southam Food Preparation Laboratory.

Chandra credits his success in bringing graduates and friends together to support the University to his love of Mac and McGill.  “I see what great work is being done by the institution – the great research and teaching, the superb students.  I find it so satisfying to share my passion for Mac with donors and alumni, and to see how this translates into their support for the institution.”

His vision during two terms as Dean has made an impact on the Macdonald Campus that will leave the Faculty well positioned to meet the challenges ahead.

GWP Sponsors McGill University’s Online Course
The Global Water Partnership (GWP) has sponsorship available for eligible participants to complete the online course in Integrated and Adaptive Water Resources Planning, Management and Governance offered by McGill University’s Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Read more...

APRIL 2014

Coconut comes out of its shell
Once shunned for its saturated fat, coconut’s reputation for boosting health is growing
Coconut oil, a saturated fat vilified not so long ago as a culprit in clogged arteries and heart disease, appears to have undergone a rehabilitation.Proponents say that coconut oil is beneficial for health — that it does everything from improve the immune system and help prevent osteoporosis to decrease inflammation, which might be a major factor in the development of disease... Read more in The Gazette

McGill et l’ETS seront des acteurs majeurs du développement de Griffintown: La recherche et la culture ont déjà trouvé place dans ce secteur en cours de revitalisation
Lancé officiellement en mai 2013, le Quartier de l’innovation en est encore à ses balbutiements. L’École de technologie supérieure (ETS), préoccupée par la revitalisation urbaine au sud du boulevard René-Lévesque et à l’ouest de l’autoroute Bonaventure, a approché l’Université McGill pour élaborer ce projet de développement.

Si l’ETS était déjà bien implantée dans le milieu, un chercheur de McGill voit désormais les avantages d’y mettre le pied. Donald Smith, professeur à la Faculté des sciences de l’agriculture et de l’environnement à l’Université McGill, a un bureau au campus Macdonald, situé à Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. Mais pour le réseau BioFuelNet Canada, dont il est à la tête, il a implanté son siège dans le Carrefour d’innovation INGO, situé sur le site de l’ancienne brasserie Dow. Read more in Le Devoir

Une équipe de McGill s'intéresse à la santé des bébés ghanéens
Une équipe de chercheurs de l'Université McGill a reçu une subvention de 3,5 millions $ du gouvernement fédéral pour réaliser un projet visant à améliorer la santé et la sécurité alimentaire de nourrissons et d'enfants au Ghana. L'équipe dirigée par la professeure Grace Marquis, de l'École de diététique et de nutrition humaine, va aider les populations rurales à mettre sur pied des programmes d'intervention en matière de santé et de production agricole. Read more in TVA Nouvelles

Also, see articles in Star Africa and Ghana News

Stronger by the bushell: McGill breakthrough in epigenetics will help prevent costly crop damage for wheat farmers

When wheat germinates before it’s harvested, it ruins the crop, a problem that costs the global wheat industry as much as $1 billion a year. Since wheat is Canada’s largest crop — we exported $6.7 billion worth of the grain in 2013 — it’s a problem familiar to Canadian farmers. Luckily, a team at McGill University led by Jaswinder Singh may have found a solution. Reda more at Innovation.ca

Creating buzz with bee hive atop T.M.R. town-hall: Students learn about nature and politics in unique project to place a bee colony atop town hall

For the bees, too, it’s been a long, hard winter. As they prepare to leave the hive to take their first flight of spring, the question is whether there will be enough honey left over from last year to survive until the flowers bloom — and the queen lays her eggs. But this Earth Day, the honey bees have found new friends in high places, as town councillors in Mount Royal team with “mini” town councillors to set up a hive on the roof of town hall. Read more in The Gazette

Sperm RNA carries marks of trauma
Stress alters the expression of small RNAs in male mice and leads to depressive behaviours in later generations (Sarah Kimmins).
Read article in Nature

Cleanup of soil at illegal PCB storage site set to begin
The cleanup of a site in Pointe-Claire that stored toxic liquids for years will enter a new phase this week. Technorem, a company specializing in soil characterization and rehabilitation, begins work at the Reliance Power Equipment site on Hymus Blvd. where toxic materials, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), were illegally stored.

Soil characterization is a process that involves removing samples of earth from multiple points on the affected swath of land and then having the soil analyzed for contaminants.
“(The lab) will measure the concentration of PCBs and other organic materials, such as oils, all of which are bad for the soil,” Jim Fyles said. Read more...

Des érablières moins bucoliques
La production de sirop d'érable perdra son aspect bucolique si les recherches de l'Université du Vermont s'avèrent. Les acériculteurs récolteraient la sève d'arbres ayant deux ou trois centimètres de diamètre, qui seraient coupés à une hauteur de 1,5 m chaque année. (Pascal Thériault)
Read article in La Presse

MARCH 2014

Is there life on Mars? McGill researcher on team to find out

When asked how he was handling this winter’s abnormally long stretches of cold weather, Lyle Whyte chuckles “Actually, I was going to break out my high arctic winter jacket,” says the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Microbiology.

But, unlike many winter-weary Montrealers, Whyte isn’t one to complain about frigid climes, having conducted the bulk of his research up at McGill’s High Arctic Station for the past 14 years. In fact, his wealth of experience working in extreme cold temperatures recently helped him land a spot on an elite team of scientists handpicked by the European Space Agency (ESA) to work on the ambitious ExoMars 2018 project, specifically as a member of the Landing Site Selection Working Group (LSSWG). Read more in the McGill Reporter


Congratulations to the Farm to School team who were the 2014 recipients of a Catalyst Award for Applied Student Research and the Out of the Garden project who won the Catalyst Award for ‘lessons learned’, given by the McGill Office of Sustainability.

The mission of Farm to School is to engage elementary students in the understanding of where food comes from, and the science behind the food system. The project brings together undergraduate students to build educational modules for various ages, which they will put online to be freely available for all teachers. Since May 2013, over 200 elementary school children have come to Macdonald campus to gain inspiration about science and sustainability in agriculture, environment and nutrition. Farm to School was the hundredth Sustainability Projects Fund initiative to be funded, and shows no signs of slowing down.

The Out-of-the-Garden project (OGP) – Alternative Café is a club, a group, and a community that is dedicated to providing Macdonald students and staff with healthy, diverse meals using locally produced vegetables. The Café serves meals that  are produced, processed, and served at Mac Campus, and has transformed the Ceilidh into a communal gathering and skill-sharing space. Their food is not only delicious, but offers gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian and vegan meals, and is based on feedback through surveys and recipe testing.

McGill’s cultural side in the spotlight on Télé-Québec’s new web platform, La Fabrique culturelle

Doing science education through dance doesn’t sound like the easiest fit in the world. But for doctoral student Geneviève Metson, it was a natural. “I was the only person in my high school year doing physics, chemistry and dance,” says Metson, who is currently working on her PhD in Natural Resource Sciences with supervisor Elena Bennett. “I studied dance throughout high school, and I was very serious about it. But in the end I decided to pursue science.” Read article in The McGill Reporter

Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge

A new report released on March 27 by the Council of Canadian Academies found that the Inuit are the most food insecure group in the developed world. The  Expert Panel, chaired by Professor Emerita of Human Nutrition Harriet Kuhnlein, included Murray Humphries (NRS) and Mac alumna Treena Wasonti:io Delormier.

Download the full report from the Council of Canadian Academies

Press coverage included: Huffington Post | Al Jazeera America | CBC News  |  Nunatsiaq News | Carolyn Bennett, MP | Food Secure Canada | BC Food Security Gateway | Sun'aq Tribe of Kodiak | Inuit Tapriit Kanatami - Joint Statement

Engineering students at CEC competition

The 2014 Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC-CCI) was hosted by the University of Western Ontario in London, ON, from the 13th to the 16th of March. This year’s theme was Engineering Intersections to put an emphasis on the interdisciplinary aspect of engineering in the 21st century. Though the competition was fiercely disputed by top students from across Canada, our Bioresource Engineering students were able to distinguish themselves once again.

The competition assembled the top 2 teams in each category for each Canadian region: West, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic, for a total of 56 teams and over 150 future engineers. As the next level after the Quebec Engineering Competition, the Quebec delegation, including 2 teams from Macdonald Campus, proudly displayed the quality and know-how of our beautiful province though their stellar performances. Indeed, Quebec won the most prizes, though by a slim margin, while Atlantic won the most 1st places, proving that the future of Canadian engineering is quite promising across the country.

After 2 days of heated competition, the winners were announced at the banquet dinner where Macdonald Campus was able to snatch 3rd place in Innovative Design with the Canadian Integrated Northern Greenhouse for Year-Round Food Security.

We would therefore like to give a big hand of applause to the two Macdonald Campus teams sent to represent our Department, Faculty and Quebec:

  • Sara Tawil and Marcela Rojas for their excellent work in the Reengineering category;
  • and Leandra Langlois and Dzuy-Tam Tran for placing 3rd in the Innovative Design category.

Finally, it should be noted that the CEC does not only allow students to compete against one another, but also encourages camaraderie and networking between future engineers and the industry.

Next year, the 2015 CEC will be held from March 5 to 8 in beautiful St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, hosted by Memorial University and should also prove to be a memorable experience.


The 2014 Quebec Engineering Competition (QEC-CIQ), themed Energies of Tomorrow, was held beginning of February in Saint-Alexis-des-Monts. This is the largest student engineering competition in the province, bringing together 13 teams from different universities in the province. The competition puts students in the position to go beyond the classroom and test themselves in real engineering situations, exhibiting their ingenuity, leadership, and communication skills. It also gives participants an opportunity to connect with the entire engineering community, with social events that introduce competitors to each other and members of the industry.

The students from Bioresource Engineering sent a full delegation to represent Bioresource Engineering in all 7 categories of competition: Junior Conception, Senior Conception, Oral Debating, Consulting Engineering, Innovative Design, Scientific Communication, and Reengineering. Special awards were given to teams which distinguished themselves in 6 different categories: Social Issues Awareness, Environmental Issues Awareness, Energy Efficiency Awareness,  Innovative Energy Uses, Technical Excellence, and Engineering Excellence for Women.

After 3 days of intense competition, the winners were announced at the closing banquet dinner. Macdonald campus proudly won 3 awards in total and came very close in several other categories.

  • 1st place in Reengineering: Sara Tawil and Marcela Rojas Dìaz for their work on Reengineering a Skeleton Sled for Paralympians and Reengineering Wind Turbines: Save the Birds
  • 2nd place in Innovative Design and special Social Issues Awareness prize: Dzuy Tam Tran and Leandra Langlois for their Canadian Integrated Northern Greenhouse for Year-Round Food Security

We are all very proud of this year's fun and energetic delegation! Once again, BRAVO! The Macdonald delegation displayed their impressive work, respectfully representing our campus and our program amongst schools with competitors from varying engineering categories. We proved again this year that Bioresource Engineering can compete with the bigger Universities, and that our program, with its characteristic teamwork and communication skills, deserves recognition for its continued efforts to specialize our students in the key concerns of the future: our food, water, and energy sources as well as preserving and remediating the environment.

Next year’s theme for QEC is Engineering the Elements and will be held in École de Technologie Supérieure in Montreal where the Macdonald team hopes to perform even better than this year. You can once again expect a top notch event from this industry-oriented engineering school.

A very special thanks to Dzuy-Tam Tran, VP-External of the BEA for organizing the 2014 Macdonald QEC delegation. He managed to fulfill all the duties of a head delegate, while earning a place at the CEC and winning the social awareness prize for the second time in two years.  

PS. Come by the Macdonald-Stewart lobby on Tuesdays between 11am and 2pm to buy perogies to help finance the BEA and make this event possible.


Paul Meldrum, General Manager, Macdonald Campus Farm, announced that the Macdonald Campus Farm dairy herd has yet again finished in the top 5 of approximately 300 Agropur members in our region of Quebec for milk quality.  This marks the fifth time in the last six years that we have finished in the top five. However, we have done even better than that, being declared Regional Champion in Agropur’s Club de l’Excellence again this year, a prestigious award we have won three out of the last four years.  The award is given to the dairy with a combination of the lowest bacteria level and somatic cell count, combined with clean, well-kept facilities.  Congratulations to Paul and our full time staff and student casuals for their hard work in maintaining excellent cow care and producing top quality milk.  This enhances the name and reputation of the Macdonald Campus Farm as well as our faculty.

Does dad's diet determine a baby's genetic fate? [Sarah Kimmins]
Men may want to double down on a healthy diet and clean living in the months before procreation, according to a study that suggests a father’s vitamin B9 deficiency may contribute to birth defects in offspring. Read more

Low paternal dietary folate alters the mouse sperm epigenome and is associated with negative pregnancy outcomes [Sarah Kimmins]
Epidemiological studies suggest that a father’s diet can influence offspring health. A proposed mechanism for paternal transmission of environmental information is via the sperm epigenome. The epigenome includes heritable information such as DNA methylation. We hypothesize that the dietary supply of methyl donors will alter epigenetic reprogramming in sperm. Here we feed male mice either a folate-deficient or folate-sufficient diet throughout life. Paternal folate deficiency is associated with increased birth defects in the offspring, which include craniofacial and musculoskeletal malformations. Genome-wide DNA methylation analysis and the subsequent functional analysis identify differential methylation in sperm of genes implicated in development, chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, autism and schizophrenia. While >300 genes are differentially expressed in offspring placenta, only two correspond to genes with differential methylation in sperm. This model suggests epigenetic transmission may involve sperm histone H3 methylation or DNA methylation and that adequate paternal dietary folate is essential for offspring health. Read more

Agriculture Canada is hoping research will lead to the next green revolution, but encouraging the industry to adopt innovation remains a policy challenge
The oil and gas sector isn’t the only major emitting industry that the federal government has so far spared from its “sector-by-sector” regulatory approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The feds are betting that research instead of regulations will lead to reductions in the emissions from Canada’s agriculture sector, which accounts for 10 per cent of Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Read more

Food insecurity, an issue as old as humanity itself, afflicts more than a third of the globe’s citizens. It isn’t just a developing-country phenomenon. Hugo Melgar-Quiñonez, the new director of the McGill Institute for Global Food Security — the only one of its kind on the planet — says food insecurity affects people everywhere and in every country. Read more in the McGill News


When you have over 13 million people who are not able to eat enough every day, we need to address this before we say whether Brazil can feed the world. -Hugo Melgar-Quinonez, Institute for Global Food Security. Read more

Hugo Melgar-Quiñonez, the Director of the McGill Institute for Global Food Security has barely finished this year’s McGill Global Food Security Conference and he is already planning next year’s event. He’s not facing it with dread or exhaustion, as you might imagine could be the case with a conference that brings together dozens of participants from around the world, but rather with a lot of excitement and energy. He’s interested in finding new ways to reach even more people working in the area across the globe. Read more

(McGill's Adam Finkelstein & Laura Winer, Teaching and Learning Services and Christopher Buddle, associate professor of insect ecology and Crystal Ernst, a doctoral candidate in insect ecology): To support an inquiry-based field research experience, McGill University gave environmental biology students mobile devices to gather rich data in the field and to support learning through real-time interaction with their instructor and the larger research community. The pilot project included an analysis of survey and interview data to determine the impact of tablet use on student engagement once the project was complete. Students recognized the value of the tablets as a research tool; however, the tablets' most important contribution to learning was the real-time communication and feedback they enabled between students, instructors, and the scientific community...Read more in Educause

It's common scientific wisdom that parasite resistance comes from repeated exposure to a parasite. But a new study has turned this idea on its head. Guppies who were removed from rivers swarming with parasites actually evolved an improved parasite tolerance in just a few generations. Here's how it happened… [Lead author of study published in Royal Society B is McGill biology grad student Felipe Dargent (Vanier Scholar), with contributions from (supervisor) Marilyn E. Scott, Andrew P. Hendry and Gregor F. Fussmann. Read more in io9, Royal Society

What do soccer stars and soybeans have in common? Brazil is incredibly good at producing and exporting both.  But while the soccer stars will come home to play for Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, the country's food exports are feeding the world as millions of Brazilians themselves go hungry, according to agriculture researchers and food scholars. […] “When you have over 13 million people who are not able to eat enough every day, we need to address this before we say whether Brazil can feed the world,” says Hugo Melgar-Quinonez, director of the Institute for Global Food Security at McGill University in Quebec. Read more...

Officers with the Sûreté du Québec were patrolling Highway 40 in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Thursday morning after a fire close by at Macdonald Campus. Animals housed in a barn were evacuated due to the fire and there was a fear that four cows not immediately accounted for might have wandered onto the service road, or worse, into the fast lanes of the expressway. Reached at 9 a.m., farm manager Paul Meldrum said all the cows were now safely corralled in different areas, fed and watered, so running into one on the highway was no longer a worry. The two-alarm fire was called in at 5:45 a.m. and started in a grain silo beside a barn, said Montreal fire chief Mario Drolet. Twelve trucks and 60 firefighters were on site to battle the blaze, which gutted the barn, housing bales of hay. Read more The Gazette, McGill Reporter, Global News, watch video


Developing new wheats to resist pre-harvest sprouting may take more than just breeding it out, new research from McGill University shows. A McGill team led by plant science professor Jaswinder Singh has identified a gene in wheat that acts as a “switch” to determine how a plant will respond to high humidity and excess rainfall — either by germinating early, or not. Pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) in Canada’s spring wheat crop alone is estimated to cost about $100 million a year in reduced grain yield, end-use quality and viability of seed for planting, the researchers said in their recently published study. Worldwide, the researchers said, PHS losses can cost wheat growers as much as $1 billion a year. Read more AgCanada, Alberta Farm Express. Additional coverage: McGill News


(Hugo Melgar-Quiñonez, director of the McGill Institute for Global Food Security): The two-day McGill Conference on Global Food Security that concludes Wednesday at McGill University comes on the heels of the release last week of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’s 2013 annual report on the state of food insecurity in the world. This year, FAO reports that an estimated 842 million people around the world do not get enough food to meet their basic requirements for an active and healthy life. The bottom line is that hundreds of millions of human beings are going to bed every night hungry. Read more in The Gazette


9 billion fed by 2050? Young leaders tackle global hunger at the Feeding a Hungry Planet Youth Agricultural Summit
Youth delegate Mathieu Rouleau (BSc Ag Business and Economics; FMT’13), representing Quebec and 4H, explains how he was selected for the initiative, and says more education on world hunger is needed. Watch video on Canada AM

JUNE 11, 2013

Congratulations to Professor Chris Buddle, NRS, (pictured here with Laura Winer, McGill Teaching & Learning Services) who received a "Best Practices Teaching Award" presented at the recent SALTISE conference (Supporting Active Learning and Technological Innovation in Science Education), in Montreal. This award was in part because of Professor Buddle's teaching innovations related to his St. Lawrence Ecosystems course. 

MAY 22, 2013

BACTERIUM FROM HIGH ARCTIC AND LIFE ON MARS. Permafrost microbe discovered growing at –15°C, the coldest temperature ever reported for bacterial growth.
The temperature in the permafrost on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian high Arctic is nearly as cold as that of the surface of Mars. So the recent discovery by a McGill University led team of scientists of a bacterium that is able to thrive at –15ºC, the coldest temperature ever reported for bacterial growth, is exciting.  The bacterium offers clues about some of the necessary preconditions for microbial life on both the Saturn moon Enceladus and Mars, where similar briny subzero conditions are thought to exist. The team of researchers, led by Prof. Lyle Whyte and postdoctoral fellow Nadia Mykytczuk, both from the Dept. of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University, discovered Planococcus halocryophilus OR1 after screening about 200 separate High Arctic microbes looking for the microorganism best adapted to the harsh conditions of the Arctic permafrost. ”We believe that this bacterium lives in very thin veins of very salty water found within the frozen permafrost on Ellesmere Island,” explains Whyte. “The salt in the permafrost brine veins keeps the water from freezing at the ambient permafrost temperature (~-16ºC), creating a habitable but very harsh environment. It’s not the easiest place to survive but this organism is capable of remaining active (i.e. breathing) to at least -25ºC in permafrost.” Read press release.

MAY 2013

Macdonald College is the proud recipient of Holstein Canada’s “Century of Holsteins” award.  The Farm, originally started by the college’s founder, Sir William Macdonald, was recognized in April at Holstein Canada’s national convention in Niagara Falls for having been a member for 100 consecutive years.  Macdonald College Farm began breeding registered Holstein dairy cattle in 1912, five years after the college was established.  The original herd was Ayrshires, who continued to make up about half of the herd until the 1960s.  Today, all of the research is performed with Holsteins, but there is still a good representation of quality Ayrshires, as well as Jerseys, Brown Swiss and a couple of Canadiennes.

Read article by farm manager Paul Meldrum, first published in the May issue of the Quebec Farmers' Advocate. Posted with permission.

In photo: Holstein Canada Award Presentation April 2013; (l-r) Harry Van Der Linden, John Buckley, Paul Meldrum, Ann Louise Carson, Glen McNeil (Photo courtesy Holstein Canada)

MAY 13, 2013

AIRBUS, AIR CANADA AND BioFuelNet CANADA PUSH FOR NEW AVIATION FUELS. Existing and emerging solutions being studied for Canadian aviation.
Airbus, Air Canada and BioFuelNet Canada, hosted by Montreal’s McGill University, have formed a partnership to assess Canadian solutions for the production of sustainable alternative jet fuels with the long term goal to supply Air Canada. The first assessment is expected by the end of 2013. The partnership was announced today, at the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) Aviation and Environment workshop in Montreal. Read press release.

MAY 1, 2013

A supplement of 400 international units of vitamin D each day is enough to ensure an infant’s health for at least the first 12 months of life, Canadian researchers have determined after testing out several dosage levels in babies. Their study, published Wednesday in a special child health issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found 400 IUs daily is as good as doses of 800, 1,200 or 1,600 IUs at preventing rickets and promoting bone health. “Right now the dose that we’re recommending is the 400 and that’s to be given every day until the baby can achieve that amount from other foods, and typically we consider that more at one year of age,” said co-principal researcher Hope Weiler of McGill University in Montreal. McGill Press Release; CTV; CNN; Radio-Canada; TVA; Canada.com; Global News

APRIL 24, 2013

Spring onions are growing at Macdonald College in Ste-Anne-de Bellevue and, within days in the greenhouse, tomatoes, peppers and asparagus will join them. Although few suburban gardeners have started planting, horticulturist Mike Bleho has been busy since mid-March, tilling soil and gearing up for another banner growing season at the McGill University farm. Last year, the bulk of the fresh fruit and vegetables consumed at four of McGill’s downtown student residences was grown on the 25-acre Mac farm dating back to the 1890s. Since 2010, Bleho, the farm’s chief horticulture technician, and Oliver De Volpi, executive chef for McGill Food and Dining Services, have been working together on a sustainable agriculture venture called Feeding McGill. Read more in the West Island Gazette

APRIL 19, 2013

When the woods get crowded, female squirrels improve their offspring's odds of survival by ramping up how fast their offspring grow. In a study led by Michigan State University and the University of Guelph (Canada), researchers showed for the first time how females use social cues to correctly prepare their offspring for life outside the nest. The results, published in the current issue of Science, confirm that red squirrel mothers boosted stress hormone production during pregnancy, which increased the size and the chances of survival of their pups. … The team based much of its study on the Kluane Red Squirrel Project, a 22-year-long study on North American red squirrels living in the Yukon led by researchers from the University of Alberta (Canada), Guelph and McGill University [Murray Humphries] (Canada). Out in the field, researchers used recordings of territorial vocalizations, or rattles, to create the illusion of a big population of squirrels. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418142302.htm

FEBRUARY 26, 2013

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Des organismes du secteur public au Canada honorés par l'IAPC et Deloitte pour leur leadership et leur vision … Parmi les gagnants des Prix IAPC/Deloitte de leadership dans le secteur public de 2012 : Initié et dirigé par des étudiants de premier cycle, un mouvement s'est propagé à travers les campus de McGill, réformant complètement l'approche de l'Université concernant les services de durabilité, de restauration et de salle à manger. Des projets novateurs ont été couronnés de succès créant, entre autres, une centaine d'emplois reliés à la durabilité pour les étudiants, détournant 28 000 kg de déchets des sites d'enfouissement, et cultivant quelque 40 000 kg de produits frais pour les programmes de restauration des résidences. Le Fonds des projets de développement durable de McGill - créé dans le but d'encourager le leadership et la collaboration, et de financer des projets à long terme, de vaste portée - est le plus grand du genre en Amérique du Nord. Communiqué de Deloitte; Reuters

FEBRUARY 18, 2013

If you've ever played around with one of those carbon or water footprint calculators, you probably know that meat production demands a lot from the environment — a lot of oil, water and land. (Check out the inforgraphic we did on what goes into a hamburger last year for Meat Week.) But have you thought about your meat's phosphorus footprint? Probably not. That's why Geneviève Metson, a doctoral student in natural resource science at McGill University in Canada, did the math for you. She wanted to find out how much of the phosphorus that's mined and turned into supplements for animal feed or fertilizer to grow feed crops goes to the meat industry. SOURCE: NPR 

JANUARY 26, 2013

Jouer au bûcheron, ça c’est du sport !
Les bûcherons de l’université McGill ont tenté d’imposer leur loi hier, lors de la 53e édition du Concours interuniversitaire annuel de bûcheronnage qui avait lieu chez eux, à Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. SOURCE: Journal de Montréal

JANUARY 2, 2013

It may seem bizarre that Canada has a maple syrup cartel at all. But think of it this way: Quebec, which produces about 77% of the world’s maple syrup, is the Saudi Arabia of the sweet, sticky stuff, and the FPAQ is its OPEC. The stated goal of the cartel, in this case, is keeping prices relatively stable. The problem with maple syrup is that the natural supply of it varies dramatically from year to year. “It’s highly dependent on the weather,” explains Pascal Theriault, an agricultural economist at the McGill University in Montreal. Time Magazine

Watch Mac in the Media

Les lumières DEL révolutionnent la culture en serres
Interview with Professor Mark Lefsrud on Le Code Chastenay

Interview with Pascal Thériault on the difficulties faceing Quebec farmers
 on RDI Economie

Sowing the Seeds of Inquiry: Learning to Observe
(with Professor Chris Buddle)

Meeting Food Industry Demands
(with Professors Kristine Koski, Salwa Karboune and Inteaz Alli)

Nutrients and Nutraceuticals
(with Professors Hope Weiler, Valérie Orsat and Stan Kubow)

The Obesity Pandemic
(with Professor Katherine Gray-Donald and Laurette Dubé)

L'ABC des prix alimentaires
(with Pascal Thériault)

Saving lives by addressing parasitic diseases:
Professor Tim Geary (Parasitology) receives $1 M Grant for parasite fight

Roundtable Talks: Tackling Food and Nutrition Security.
McGill Conference on Global Food Security 2010

Roundtable Talks: Tackling Water Scarcity.
McGill Conference on Global Food Security 2010

Macdonald Campus Freshman Video

Why is environmental education important?
(with Professor Elena Bennett)

African adventure
Bioresource Engineering students in Benin

Searching for life on Mars
(with Professor Lyle Whyte)

Plant Science tackles climate change and food crises (with Professor Don Smith)

Fighting for Food Security
(with Professor G.S.V. Raghavan)

What People are Saying...

June 18-2013

Well done! BRE students Laurie Bennett, Marilyn Brière-Deschênes, Antony Glover, Janick Hardy and Mary-Elizabeth Konrad were part of the McGill team recently recognized by the Scotiabank Ecoliving Awards. The students worked on one of several projects undertaken by the McGill Energy Project as part of the BRE Senior Design Project course: a solar water heating system feasibility and analysis in order to improve the efficiency of the hot water heating system in the University Residences http://vimeo.com/67858043#t=223

June 18-2013

A proud day for McGill https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/node/18800


June 13-2013

Chris Buddle has been recognized once again for his outstanding teaching. At its annual conference this year, SALTISE awarded Chris with the Best Practices and Pedagogical Innovators Award for University Instructors largely for work he did with the St. Lawrence Ecosystems Course. Read more about his work here http://publications.mcgill.ca/macdonald/2012/12/17/social-media-becomes-a-teaching-tool/  


May 25-2013

Congratulations to co-authors Professor Harriet V. Kuhnlein and Chief Bill Erasmus on the publication of Indigenous People's Food Systems and Well-Being; Intervantions and policies for healthy communities. This is the third book in the series of unique books promoting the use of local food systems by Indigeneous Peoples.

Congrats once again to the McGill Feeding McGill project for its Gold Medal win in the Outreach and Education Category by the National Association of College and University Food Service Providers.


May 22-2013

Exciting discovery of a new cold water bacterium that thrives in the Canadian High Arctic may give us clues to life in elsewhere in our solar system. The research was carried out by an international team of researchers led by Professor Lyle Whyte and postdoctoral fellow Nadia Mykytczuk, (Natural Resource Sciences) https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/bacterium-canadian-high-arctic-and-life-mars-226842

Macdonald College is the proud recipient of Holstein Canada’s “Century of Holsteins” award. The Farm, originally started by the college’s founder, Sir William Macdonald, was recognized in April at Holstein Canada’s national convention in Niagara Falls for having been a member for 100 consecutive years. Photo: Holstein Canada.