Morden Research and Development Centre
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
101 Route 100, Unit 100
The Morden Research and Development Centre was established in 1915. The Centre is associated with three satellite locations in Winnipeg:
- the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine, located at the Albrechtsen Research Centre
- the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, located at the University of Manitoba, Fort Garry campus
- the Canadian Centre for Grain Storage Research, located at the University of Manitoba, Fort Garry campus
The Centre leads research in six areas:
- Cereal diseases
- Cereal germplasm and genomics
- Flax and Eastern Prairie Pulse crop germplasm
- Human nutrition, food health attributes, and functional foods;
- Bioprospection from bioresources: cereals, pulses, and oilseeds
- Grain and grain products storage research
Facilities at the Morden Research and Development Centre
- Field research carried out at Glenlea, Manitoba, a 103 hectare site 12 kilometres south of Winnipeg and at the Morden Research Station, a 260 hectare site 95 km southwest of Winnipeg
- Research on health benefits of Canadian crops at the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM), located at the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre and at the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Neutracuticals located at the University of Manitoba
- The Morden Research Station operates the first Plant Pest Containment (PPC 3) biocontainment facility in Canada for research on plant pathogens.
Current research activities
Cereal and pulses
- Developing guidelines for storing grain safely, as well as environmentally sound options to more effectively control insects and microflora in stored grain and grain products
- Exploring the development of new varieties of cereals, oilseeds and pulse crops that will have higher yields, resistance to disease, improved quality and greater tolerance to environmental stresses
- Collaboration with breeders, industry and academia, applying expertise in cereal chemistry, plant science, food science and nutrition to address the needs of the various stakeholders along the agri-food value chain (fork to farm). This research provides an important link between genetic resources for Canadian-grown grains, industry development of value-added agricultural products, and consumer health interests
- Providing end-use quality testing for cereal breeders and research centers in western Canada
- Evaluating wheat, barley and oat lines for milling and baking quality, and barley malting quality
- Studying the protein and starch contained in cereals, the physical factors that affect baking, pasta and noodle making, and oat quality
- Identifying new sources of disease and insect resistance in cereals, oilseeds and pulse crops
- Conducting research on the various factors that affect the health of plants, the genetics and physiology of plant diseases and the cause and control of diseases such as Fusarium Head Blight, leaf, stem and crown rusts, smuts, viruses and leaf spot diseases in cereals; flax rust, Fusarium wilt, powdery mildew, Pasmo in flax; sclerotinia, rust, verticillium wilt and downy mildew in sunflower; and Anthracnose, bacterial blight, white mould, Mycosphaerella blight, and root rot in pulse crops
- Evaluating wheat, barley and oat lines for milling and baking quality, and barley malting quality
- Identifying and cloning genes responsible for quality traits and disease resistance
- Exploring the development of new varieties of oilseed crops that will have higher yields, resistance to disease, improved quality and greater tolerance to environmental stresses
- Identifying new sources of disease and insect resistance in oilseeds
- Conducting research on the various factors that affect the health of plants, the genetics and physiology of plant diseases and the cause and control of diseases such as flax rust, Fusarium wilt, powdery mildew, Pasmo in flax; sclerotinia, rust, verticillium wilt and downy mildew in sunflower
- Evaluation of agricultural practice effects on water quality and soil health and the development of beneficial management practices (BMPs) to minimize these effects
- Enhancing human health and wellness through food, nutrition and innovative products
- Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM) has a mandate to investigate health-related effects of functional foods and nutraceuticals (FFN) and to develop reliable, scientific, evidence-based information concerning FFN's. Target diseases include diabetes/obesity, cardiovascular disease and immune disorders. Crops under investigation include cereals, pulses, oilseeds and small fruits.
Results of our research
Cereal and pulses; oilseeds
- Developed a computer-based expert system for interactive grain management including thermal-imaging camera use to detect grain spoilage and hyperspectral near-infrared imaging to grade grain.
- Developed a website and mobile phone app for identification of stored-product insects to be used by producers and industry.
- Discovered and deployment of disease resistant genes (15 genes for leaf and 4 genes for stem rust in wheat; 7 genes for stem and 18 genes for crown rust in oat; powdery mildew in flax; sclerotinia and verticillium in sunflower), and insect resistance genes (wheat midge resistance developed DNA markers for several of these genes. This will help scientists develop disease resistant varieties.
- Identified the new strain of Ug99 stem rust in Africa as a threat to Canadian wheat production; found three novel sources of resistance; identified and mapped the resistant gene.
- Identified regions in the genome contributing Fusarium Head Blight resistance in spring and durum wheat; the location of the chromosome of a number of resistance genes for smut and bunt pathogens in wheat and barley; characterized ergot resistance in wheat.
- Conducted proteomic research on differentially expressed proteins related to disease resistance (leaf rust, Fusarium head blight) and pre-harvest sprouting resistance and other economically important traits.
- Developed high density SNP and SSR maps for wheat and oat.
- Developed germplasm for multiple disease resistance to common bacterial blight, anthracnose and bean common mosaic virus.
- Identified molecular markers for root rot in field peas.
- Developed the first dry bean cultivars in western Canada with resistance to common bacterial blight.
- Developed PCR and real-time PCR assays for the rapid detection, quantification and diagnosis of anthracnose in dry bean.
- Released 9 dry bean varieties since 2003 with early maturity, disease resistance to anthracnose and bacterial blight, and improved agronomic characteristics.
- Released 9 brown seed flax varieties since 2001 with improved yield as a result of improved resistance to flax rust, fusarium wilt and powdery mildew, improved lodging resistance, with enhanced seed quality (oil content, oil quality profile and protein content). In 2017, released a new yellow seed variety of flax with enhancement in agronomics, disease resistance and overall seed quality as compared to previous yellow seed flax varieties.
- Identified molecular markers for anthracnose resistance; resistance to specific races of pasmo in flax inbred lines; new virulent races of sunflower rust and downey mildew; new source of resistance to Sclerotinia in a native perennial wild sunflower species.
- Led the development of genomic resources and markers for flax: constructed the only flax bacterial artificial chromosome library and a physical map of the flax genome, used to describe the genome composition; sequenced the wild progenitor of cultivated flax to access novel genetic diversity.
- Established a core collection of 407 flax accessions and assessed them for agronomic, disease and seed and fibre traits, identified regions in the genome responsible for yield components, oil content and fatty acid composition.
- Generated a refined, sorted, chromosome-based flax genome reference sequence.
- Conducted genome-wide SNP marker discovery and haplotype map for flax.
- The Cereal and Pulse Chemistry and Nutrition lab at the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals provided the substantiation of the barley health benefit resulting in a Health Canada approved claim in 2012 including the development of new theories and techniques surrounding beta-glucan viscosity and fibre; and, the discovery of β-glucan cholesterol lowering mechanism.
- Developed rapid in vitro methods for predicting health effects.
- Developed new processing strategies for industry value-added oat and barley products.
- Laid the foundation for developing Canadian wheat for functional food markets.
- Provided scientific substation of health claims around the LDL cholesterol lowering with soybean; increased satiety with cereals and pulse and postprandial glucose response.
- Demonstrated the role of resveratrol, found in grapes and other berries, in preventing and regressing heart disease caused by hypertension and early stage type two diabetes. This influenced clinical studies on the use of resveratrol in humans with heart disease.
- Established a cell-based model to help scientists pre-screen agri-food extracts before progressing to more expensive in vivo experiments in animal models.
- Established techniques to determine the amount of total anthocyanins (antioxidants found in red/purple fruits and vegetables that protect heart heath), and separate them from other polyphenols (micronutrients) in an extract.
- Developed hydrologic models for three watersheds in southern Manitoba for upscaling best management practices research.
- Created information for agricultural resource inventories that helped create numerous integrated watershed management plans and "group farm plans" to mitigate nutrient losses and maintain the yield of the crop and quality of the environment.
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