Food for Health: 4th Annual OAC-GSC Graduate Student Colloquium


The 4th Annual OAC-GSC Graduate Student Colloquium (held at Arboretum Centre, on February 27th, 2015), included presentations and discussions on the theme “Food for Health”. The day started with opening remarks by Dr. Rene Van Acker, on the significance of discussion about food from a health perspective. Graduate student participants from Plant Agriculture, Animal and Poultry Science, Food Science, Family Relations & Applied Nutrition, Food & Agricultural Resource Economics, Human Health & Nutritional Sciences, and School of Environmental Design & Rural Development, presented their respective departmental solutions to address the question:

 “How can your department contribute to develop, improve, or promote functional foods (FFs) for improved human health?”

The key areas identified by departmental solutions for FF adoption included; basic research towards improved plant propagation and breeding methods, creating optimal environmental conditions for FF crop cultivation, developing FF enriched animal products, and applied research involving, sustainability testing of FF crops in rural economic systems, evaluating consumer perception towards FFs as well as their market demand and supply, and animal and human studies to validate health claims of various FFs.

Graduate students from different departments came together to form breakout groups and discuss the potential of a few selected FFs (Plant sterols, Whey protein, Dietary fibre, Coumarin, and Oat beta-glucans) and their beneficial effects against adverse human health conditions (Cardiovascular disease, Obesity, Diabetes). The top common solutions provided by various breakout groups included promoting awareness, increasing availability, improving taste, and defining health claims for FFs.

Dr. Massimo Marcone provided a comprehensive review of the world of FFs and their scope for improvement of human health, in his keynote speech titled “Functional Food and Nutraceuticals – Past and future trends”. Dr. Bronwynne Wilton (OMAFRA-U of G Partnership) offered the concluding remarks for the day.

Generous funding from Richards OAC Learning Trust, and Student Life Enhancement Fund made the event possible.

Plant Ag Participants: Beatrice Amyotte, Chris Budd , Anna Krzywdzinski, Michelle Arseneault, Ricki Rathwell, Sierra Harris, Walaa Mousa, and Rattandeep Gill.

OAC Colloquium day event photosOAC Colloquium day event photos

Photo Credit: Peter Chen and John Dupuis Post by: Rattandeep Gill