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Environmental Sciences

Exploring all aspects of the food chain

We recognize the important link between research and education, and we always strive to create new knowledge through research opportunities.

Professors in the Faculty of Agriculture's Environmental Sciences program are involved in diverse research projects, investigating a range of areas from cool climate fruits to insect toxicology, as well as the broader fields of health and bioproducts.

Selected faculty research projects

Dr. Vasantha Rupasignhe

Dr. Rupasignhe's research involves understanding the functions and industrial uses of flavonoids (a class of plant secondary metabolites, or products of metabolism) in cool climate fruits. This research will lead to the development of food additives, ingredients, value-added foods, and natural health products that could fight chronic disease.

Research has shown that some non-nutrient components in fruit have the remarkable power to prevent the development of chronic diseases and promote human health and wellness. Read more about Dr. Rupasingnhe and the health benefits of fruit.

Dr. Chris Cutler

Dr. Cutler’s research focuses on the following topics:

  • integrated management of insects in wild blueberries
  • insect toxicology and ecotoxicology
  • insecticide resistance
  • entomopathogenic nematodes (soil-inhabiting, lethal insect parasitoids)
  • conservation biological control
  • wild pollinator and natural enemy ecology
  • hormesis (generally favourable biological responses to low exposures to toxins and other stressors)

Dr. Chibuike Udenigwe

Dr. Udenigwe's research in the fields of health and bioproducts focuses on developing human health-promoting applications of food bioproducts. This research aims to enhance the bioproducts’ value and support the growth of Canada's agri-food economy.

Dr. Udenigwe’s current research interests include the following:

  • development of affordable and applicable technology for processing underutilized animal food bioproducts into human health-promoting agents
  • understanding the molecular basis of the physiological functions of the molecules using mammalian cell cultures, animal models of health conditions and in silico techniques
  • exploring the feasibility of formulating nutraceuticals and functional food products from the bioactive molecules

Specific areas of focus include the following:

  • various aspects of food protein-derived biopeptides including chemistry, processing and stability
  • multifunctional properties
  • elucidation of mechanisms of physiological function
  • structure-function relationship studies
  • matrices for efficient delivery
  • bioavailability in target mammalian tissues
  • sensory attributes and safety