Our Work

Food & Bioresources

Our social, scientific, and technological innovation in food production and the bio-economy— bioproducts, biomaterials, and bioenergy— draws on disciplines as diverse as genetics, nanoscience, and resource economics. Crop and forestry research investigates how plants can be bred to be more resistant to disease, stress, and insects; other work looks for the potential of new plant-based pharmaceuticals. With our external partners, we investigate ways for continued improvement is sustainable livestock, agriculture, and rangeland management practices.  Facilities such as Agri-Food Discovery Place link research capacity in food safety, agri-industrial technologies, and functional foods with both large and small industry collaborators.  Key faculties:  Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences and the Faculty of Science.

Biomass, Biofuels, and Bioenergy

Integrated research in biofuels, bioenergy, and biomass conversion are creating valuable products from the waste produced by wood, plants, and crop processing, from greener chemicals to new catalysts. This approach leverages the university's expertise in fuels and petrochemicals, nanoscience, biochemistry, proteomics, and systems biology, to create new value for forestry and agriculture sectors in Alberta and globally.

Swine, Livestock, and Poultry

Both consumers and food production industries seek constant improvement in food safety, food quality, and production efficiency and sustainability.  The U of A collaborates with dairy industry on these challenges at the Dairy Research and Technology Centre. Our Poultry Research Centre develops value-added poultry products and technologies and sustainable production practices. And the Swine Research and Technology Centre focuses on nutrition and metabolism, feeds and feedstuff utilization, and herd management.

Sustainable Agriculture

New technologies, mechanization, increased chemical use, and growing food demands have lead to profound changes in agriculture. To ensure environmental and human health for current and future generations, researchers are addressing issues such as water supply, use, and quality, as well as best practices to reduce soil erosion and increase its nutrient content for crop production.

Renewable Resource Economics

Efficient and sustainable food production depends not only on livestock and crop sciences, but also on the economic analysis of renewable resource and environmental issues, trade, marketing, and consumer behaviour. Innovation and understanding in these areas allow us to better manage our renewable resources and ensure they are available for future generations.

Agricultural Biotechnology

Sciences such as genomics are foundational to the university's programs in developing probiotics, nutraceuticals and specialized seed oils to improve the health benefits of food production. Genetics and plant biology, and biotechnology allow researchers to identify plant mechanisms and traits that can lead to new crops that are more disease and stress (e.g., drought) resistant, and more efficient in extracting nutrients from soils.

Animal Science and Genetics

Lifestock science activities at the U of A focus on optimizing production and quality of traditional and new species, and on novel traits through genomics, breeding, protection systems, and issues of importance to the beef, dairy, swine, and poultry industries such as food safety, food quality, production efficiency and sustainability, and environmental health.

Water

Through its Water Initiative, the University of Alberta will seek research, technology and policy solutions to local, regional and global water quality, supply and demand challenges. We will harness our vast water expertise and capacity across social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering to tackle integrated water challenges in energy, food, health and environmental sectors.

Recent Impacts