Tree Fruit Bio‑product Research

Supporting the Nova Scotia tree fruit industry

The Tree Fruit Bio-product (TFB) Research Program on the Agricultural Campus, a cooperative initiative between industry, government and academia, was established in October, 2003 to explore the value-added and bio-product development opportunities for the Nova Scotia fruit industry.

The long-term goal of the program is to enhance the economic value of tree fruit crops and to ensure the sustainability of the Nova Scotia tree fruit industry. This will be achieved by introducing novel value-added food and feed products, natural health products, and other bio-products for industrial processes using tree fruits and their under-utilized by-products.

It is now well known that certain plant chemical substances (e.g., polyphenols) carry properties that are beneficial to human health. These polyphenols, especially flavonoids, are the primary components of fruits that provide antioxidant and other physiological properties, bringing health benefits beyond the basic nutritional benefits. Health-care concerns have accelerated consumer interest in the agri-food industry’s ability to provide dietary antioxidant-enriched value-added food products with these healthful properties.

The newly established natural products chemistry research laboratory at the Faculty of Agriculture, in collaboration with other regional and national research institutions, is in the process of executing several product development research initiatives for the Atlantic fruit industry.

Current research and development initiatives

  • developing health-food ingredients for bakery products;
  • natural antioxidants for stability of food and nutraceutical lipids;
  • natural antimicrobials for extending the shelf life of minimally processed fruits and vegetables;
  • poultry feed additives to reduce sudden death syndrome;
  • apple-based healthy snacks;
  • and fruit antioxidants enriched functional beverages, among others.

Current research projects

  • isolation and characterization of bioactive phytochemicals from cool climate fruits and their processing by-products
  • natural food antioxidants: antioxidant and PUFA stabilization properties of structurally modified flavonoids
  • characterization of neuroprotective properties of selected apple polyphenols
  • characterization of anti-hypertensive properties of fruit flavonoids and their derivatives
  • inhibition of LDL oxidation in vitro and regulation of cholesterol metabolism in hamsters by apple skin bioactives
  • anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperlipidemic properties of selected flavonols
  • characterization of antioxidant properties of native wild berry extracts
  • development of novel and improved processes for manufacturing functional foods and beverages from Atlantic fruits
  • impact of suppression of ethylene action on sugar and malic acid metabolism of apples


  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Agri-Futures
  • Nova Scotia Fruit Growers’ Association
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation
  • Domaine de Grand Pré
  • J.W. Mason & Sons, Ltd.
  • Noggins Corner Farm
  • Nova Scotia Agriculture
  • NSERC-CRSNG (Atlantic)
  • Nova Scotia Research and Innovation
  • Scotian Gold
  • Nova Scotia Tree Fruit Research Foundation


Dr. H.P. Vasantha Rupasinghe
Associate Professor, Environmental Sciences
Canada Research Chair in Fruit Bioactives & BioProducts

BSc, Honors (University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka)
MSc (Iowa State University, USA)
PhD (University of Guelph, Canada)

Room 219-3, Cox Institute Building
Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University
Phone (office): (902) 893-6623
          (lab): (902) 893-7582
Fax: (902) 893-1404