Rene Van Acker

Rene Van Acker



(519) 824-4120 x52285


B.Sc. University of Guelph
M.Sc. University of Guelph
PhD. University of Reading (UK)



102 JHNH

Weed Science, Agronomy, Weed Ecology and Biology: Weed management is a constant challenge in crop production systems world-wide.  The way in which we manage weeds is fundamentally a function of the nature of the production system and the opportunities with a production system for timely weed recruitment. My weed management research focuses on weed recruitment biology and the impact of its nature on the efficacy of management approaches. I work in the context of the continuum of agricultural production systems from intensive to natural systems agriculture and I work collaboratively with researchers across North America.

Biosafety: The next wave of novel traits being engineered into food and feed crops in Canada include traits for plant made pharmaceuticals (PMPs) and industrial bio-products. These traits will bring great value but some will pose risks to food safety if the traits are not adequately confined. A priori assessment and mitigation of these risks is greatly facilitated by the use of dynamic deterministic models of trait movement. The broad objective of my research in this area is to facilitate the future exploitation of novel traits in cropped plants by producing effective, detailed deterministic models of crop to crop novel trait movement (trait confinement models).


AGR*4600 Agriculture and Food Issues Problem Solving

Relevant Links:

Selected Publications:

Li, Z., R. Van Acker, N. Soltani and P.H. Sikkema. (2017). Managing weeds with herbicides in white beans: a review. Canadian Journal of Plant ScienceDOI: 10.1139/CJPS-2017-0030.

Murphy, G.P., C.J. Swanton, R.C. Van Acker, and S.A. Dudley. (2017). Lessons from kin recognition in wild plants for crop sustainability. Journal of Ecology. (in press).

Murphy, G.P., R. Van Acker, I. Rajcan, and C.J. Swanton. (2017). Identity recognition in response  to a gradient of genetic relatedness in commercial soybean. Royal Society Open Science. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160879.

Li, Z., R. Van Acker, N. Soltani and P.H. Sikkema. (2017). Direct versus indirect herbicide effects: The example of preplant incorporated halosulfuron. American Journal of Plant Sciences. 8: 645-650.

Kong. Y., D. Llewellyn, K. Schiestel, M. Gay Scroggins, D. Lubitz, M.R. McDonald, R. Van Acker, R. Martin, E. Elford and Y. Zheng. (2017). High Tunnels Can Promote Growth, Yield, and Fruit Quality of Organic Bitter Melons (Momordica charantia) in Regions with Cool and Short Growing Seasons. HortScience. 52: 65-71.

Dias, G.M., N.W. Ayer, S. Khosla, R. Van Acker, S.B. Young, S. Whitney, and P. Hendricks. (2017). Life cycle perspectives on the sustainability of Ontario greenhouse tomato production: benchmarking and improvement opportunities. Journal of Cleaner Production. 140: 831-839.

Li, Z., K.C. Kessler, M. Rodrigues Alves de Figueiredo, S.J. Nissen, T.A. Gaines, R. Van Acker, J.C. Hall, D.E. Robinson, N. Soltani and P.H. Sikkema. (2016). Halosulfuron absorption, Translocation, and metabolism in white and adzuki bean. Weed Science. 64: 705-711.

Wartman, P., K. Dunfield, K. Khosla, C. Loucks, R.C. Martin and R.C. Van Acker. (2016). The establishment of apple orchards as temperate forest garden systems and their impact on indigenous bacterial and fungal population abundance in Southern Ontario, Canada. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. 30. DOI: 10.1017/S1742170516000120.

Moussavi, A., S.Z.H. Cici, C. Loucks and R.C. Van Acker. (2016). Establishing field stands of  Russian dandelion (Taraxacum Kok-saghyz) from seed in southern Ontario, Canada. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 96: 887-894.

Chakraborty, S., S.Z.H. Cici, J. Todd, C. Loucks and R.C. Van Acker. (2016). Exploring the weed biology of two potentially novel oilseed crops: Euphorbia lagascae and Centrapalus pauciflorus. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 96: 677-688.

Li, Z., R. Van Acker, D.E. Robinson, and P.H. Sikkema. (2016). Halosulfuron tankmixes applied preplant incorporated for weed control in white bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 96: 81-88.

White, S.N., N.S. Boyd and R.C. Van Acker. (2016). Evaluation of aminocyclopyrachlor applied alone and in combination with registered herbicides for crop tolerance and weed control in wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.). Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 96: 11-16.

Charlebois, S. and R. Van Acker. (2016). In the belly of the “beast”: A look at Monsanto’s public engagement awakening. Public Relations Review. 42: 223-225.

Li, Z., R. Van Acker, D.E. Robinson and P.H. Sikkema. (2016). Halosulfuron Tankmixes Applied PRE in White Bean. Weed Technology. 30: 57-66.

Fraser, E., A. Legwegoh, K. Krishna, M. CoDyre, G. Dias, S. Hazen, R. Johnson, R. Martin, L. Ohberg, S. Sethuratnam, L. Sneyd, J. Smithers, R. Van Acker, J. Vansteenkiste, H. Wittman, R. Yada. (2016). Biotechnology or organic? Extensive or intensive? Global or local? A critical review of potential pathways to resolve the global food crisis. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 48: 78-87.

Bullied, W.J., P.R. Bullock and R.C. Van Acker. (2011). Modeling the soil-water retention characteristic with pedotransfer functions for shallow seedling recruitment. Soil Science. 176: 57-72.

Bagavathiannan, M.V., R.H. Gulden and R.C. Van Acker. (2010). Occurrence of feral alfalfa (Medicago sativa L. ) populations along roadside habitats in southern Manitoba, Canada and their role in intraspecific novel trait movement. Transgenic Research. 19. DOI: 10.1007/s11248-010-9425-2.

Bagavathiannan, M.V., A. Spok and R.C. Van Acker. (2010). Commercialization of Perennial GE crops: Looming Challenges for Regulatory Frameworks. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. 23. DOI: 10.1007/s10806-010-9257-3.

Bagavathiannan, M.V., R.H. Gulden, G.S. Begg and R.C. Van Acker. (2010). The demography of feral alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) populations occurring in roadside habitats in Southern Manitoba, Canada: implications for novel trait confinement. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 17. DOI: 10.1007/s11356-010-0330-2.

Bagavathiannan, M.V., B. Julier, P. Barre, R.H. Gulden and R.C. Van Acker. (2010). Genetic diversity of feral alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) populations occurring in Manitoba, Canada and comparison with alfalfa cultivars: an analysis using SSR markers and phenotypic traits. Euphytica. 171: 419-432.

Willenborg, C.J., A.L. Brûlé-Babel and R.C. Van Acker. (2010). Identification of a hybridization window that facilitates sizable reductions of pollen-mediated gene flow in spring wheat. Transgenic Research. 19: 449-460.