T: 514-398-8132 | valerie.gravel [at] mcgill.ca (Email) | Raymond Building, R2-20C
B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.(Laval)
Valérie Gravel obtained her MSc and PhD in Plant Science in 2007 from Université Laval (Québec, QC) following undergraduate studies in Agronomy at the same institution. Between 2007 and 2012, she completed postdoctoral research at Agriculture and AgriFood Canada (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC) and at Wageningen University (The Netherlands). In 2012, she became an assistant professor at the Nova Scotia Agriculture College (Truro, NS) in collaboration with the Organic Agriculture Center of Canada (OACC). She joined McGill University in 2013 as an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Science. She currently serves as vice-president of the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science (CSHS) and as a board member of the Quebec Society for Plant Protection (QSPP) as well as Plant Canada. She is also a member of Ordre des Agronomes du Québec.
Member, Ordre des Agronomes du Québec
Board Member, Quebec Society for Plant Protection (QSPP)
Vice-President, Canadian Society for Horticultural Science (CSHS)
Canadian and Quebec consumers have become more aware of potential health benefits of consuming pesticide-free nutritious produce with elevated concentrations of health-related compounds. As growing conditions have a major impact on how well horticultural plants grow, my work focusses on understanding how sustainable production practices influence the overall quality of fresh produce.
Sustainable production horticulture is often defined by environmentally sound cultivation practices to ensure long-term food security by promoting, among other things, a higher produce quality. Recent work has therefore concentrated on understanding the pathways leading to health-related bioactive compound accumulation in plant tissues. In fact, it is often associated with a physiological response to abiotic stress (high salinity, drought-like conditions or higher CO2 concentrations) or biotic stress (often triggered by the soil microbial communities) similar to conditions resulting from sustainable production practices. Our goal is to define and understand patterns of plant response to multiple simultaneous abiotic and biotic stresses.
Using our expertise in the area of sustainable horticultural production systems with a specific emphasis on sheltered or greenhouse crops, our research interests include: nutrient availability and plant uptake in organic cropping systems, plant growth regulation in sustainable production systems, microbial interactions within the soil-plant-environment continuum, and biological control of diseases and pests in sustainable fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops.
Current Research Projects
Essais de fertigation en azote pour la culture de concombre frais de marché en sol minéral à l’échelle du Québec (MAPAQ PSEF; 2013-2017).
Mise au point d'une stratégie de protection des cultures économes en fongicide à risque (MAPAQ Innov’action; 2014-2017)
Optimization of alternative cultivation practices for day-neutral strawberry production (NSERC-Collaborative Research and Development Grant; 2016-2021)
Gravel, V., Dorais, M. and Ménard, C. 2013. Organic potted plants amended with biochar: its effect on growth and Pythium colonization. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 93:1217-1227.
Gravel, V., Dorais, M. and Ménard, C. 2012. Organic fertilization and their effect on development of sweet pepper transplants. HortScience. 47: 198-204.
Gravel, V., Ménard, C., and Dorais, M. 2011. Nutrient availability and greenhouse tomato plant development under organic growing conditions: a case study of six organic soils. Acta Horticulturae. 915: 83-90.
Gravel, V., Ménard, C., Gruyer, N. and Dorais, M. 2011. Constructed wetlands implanted with Iris versicolor, Juncus sp. and Phragmites australis as a potential treatment for greenhouse effluents. Acta Horticulturae. 893 :1139-1146.
Gravel, V., Blok, W., Hallman, E., Carmona-Torres, C., Wang, H., van de Peppel, A., Condor Golec, A.F., Dorais, M., van Meeteren, U., Heuvelink, E., Rembialkowska and van Bruggen, A.H.C. 2010. Differences in N uptake and fruit quality between organically and conventionally grown greenhouse tomatoes. Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 30 :797-806
Gravel, V., Ménard, C. and Dorais, M. 2009. Pythium Root Rot and Growth Responses of Organically Grown Geranium Plants to Beneficial Micro-organisms. HortScience. 44:1622-1627.
Avis, T., Gravel, V., Antoun, H. and Tweddell, R.J. 2008. Multifaceted beneficial effects of rhizosphere microorganisms on plant health and productivity. Soil Biology & Biochemistry. 40:1733-1740.
Gravel, V., Antoun, H. and Tweddell, R. 2007. Effect of indole-acetic acid (IAA) on the development of symptoms caused by Pythium ultimum on tomato plants. European Journal of Plant Pathology. 119:457-462.
Gravel, V., Antoun, H. and Tweddell, R.J. 2007. Growth stimulation and fruit yields improvement of greenhouse tomato plants by inoculation with Pseudomonas putida or Trichoderma atroviride: possible role of indole-acetic acid (IAA). Soil Biology & Biochemistry. 39 : 1968-1977.
Gravel, V., Martinez, C. Antoun, H. and Tweddell, R.J. 2006. Control of greenhouse tomato root rot (Pythium ultimum) in hydroponic systems using plant growth-promoting microorganisms. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology. 28 : 475-483.