Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

November 08, 2005 12:15 ET

AAFC: Tipsheet-November 2005

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 8, 2005) -

Green tea...great tea !

Green tea is becoming widely known for its many benefits, such as its cancer-fighting properties. Scientists are on the verge of adding another item to the list. A team of scientists in Guelph, Ontario, have isolated and identified two polyphenol (antioxidant) compounds from Chinese green tea that show great promise as a substitute for antibiotics. The most active polyphenol compounds and crude extracts of green tea were found to be very effective in fighting some major foodborne pathogens such as E.coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureas. Since green tea is known to contain high levels of polyphenols, crude extracts of the compounds could become a natural alternative to controlling foodborne diseases and reduce the use of synthetic antibiotics.

Fresh, white apple slices: the secret is in the bag

Research done at Agriculture Canada has an impact on apple slice products bought in grocery stores and in restaurants like McDonald's. A team of scientists led by Dr. Peter Toivonen developed a new understanding of apple packaging that is helping the industry provide fresh apple slices with consistent quality to consumers year-round. Together, the research team looked at resolving critical issues that stymied the launching of fresh-cut apple slices for commercial use. They developed minimum packaging specifications to suit many different varieties of apples. These specifications establish a minimum oxygen transfer rate to ensure the apples taste fresh and to reduce secondary browning, which was the most limiting factor in selling cut apple slices. The freshness factor was verified by a sensory analysis of how consumers perceived the flavor and quality from the different packages.

It's a "bug eat bug" world in apple orchards

Spider mites can be a real nuisance for apple growers, damaging the trees and affecting the quality of the crops. Scientists throughout eastern Canada and British Columbia are studying ways to best control these mites, while trying to limit the impact on the environment. They are examining reduced risk pesticides and alternative biocontrol strategies such as using predatory mites. Often, pesticides not only kill the unwanted pests, but their predators as well. In this research project, scientists discovered some predatory mites are resistant to most pesticides used in orchards, and can be bred. By conserving and introducing these predatory mites in orchards, growers noticed improved fruit quality and often don't need to spray for mites, as is the case in British Columbia.

You can lead a cow to water... and let it drink

Dairy farms use a lot of water for their cattle and to clean their equipment. A typical dairy cow drinks about a bathtub full of water every day. Ponds on the farm are a source of water that is regularly replenished by rain. The problem is that pond water often contains bacteria that can make animals sick and ruin tanks of milk. A dairy farm in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia, is testing a number of technologies to purify pond water, including ultraviolet light, aeration and water filtration. In addition to providing water for cattle, the farm uses the treated water to clean its dairy equipment and tanks. Currently, well water in the region contains small amounts of sand and gypsum that can damage the equipment. The project is being funded under the Canada-Nova Scotia Water Supply Expansion Program.

Robocow is back!

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Robocow, the award-winning star of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's educational video! And she's back with a sequel: Robocow: The Aquifer Connection. News of the second video - which identifies problems and solutions concerning urban and rural groundwater - is spreading quickly, and requests for its use have already come in from New York and Ireland. Robocow: The Aquifer Connection is the followup to Robocow: Operation H2O, which was created in 2001 by AAFC's Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration as a means of educating students and adults about beneficial management practices in agricultural settings. Operation H2O won an award of merit from the Association for Media Technology in Education in Canada, and has been requested for use by government departments, conservation groups and educators from across Canada, the United States, and around the world.

To view Robocow: The Aquifer Connection, visit:

To view Robocow: Operation H2O, visit:

Contact Information

  • AAFC
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972
    1-866-345-7972 (toll free)