[music] NARRATOR:The Department of
Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph
is committed to improving life through innovative
science, education and service in plant agriculture. Society’s expectations of
agriculture now include a wide range of
health and environmental services such
as producing food with nutraceuticals,
protecting biodiversity, mitigating climate change
and providing alternative energy sources. The Department of
Plant Agriculture offers a PhD program in four
broad fields of the Plant Sciences:
Plant Breeding and Genetics, Plant Biochemistry and
Physiology, Crop Production Systems
and Bioproducts. Students conduct research
on topics within these fields. AMRITPAL: My project is on
sugar maples. Sugar maples are a
very important tree. They form a very
important part of the ecosystem. We need to boil
large quantities of sap to produce little
amounts of syrup. If we propagate trees
which have higher sugar content then the amount
of sap to be boiled reduces. We can increase
the production. We can increase
the productivity and we can also
reduce the carbon footprint of this
whole process. So my project is on
propagating superior trees, elite trees which have
higher sugar content and to do this I am using
tissue culture techniques and I’m also working
on developing high density genetic markers,
molecular markers, which I plan to associate
with the genes of interest especially sugar content
and tree architecture. Usually consumers tend
to prefer very light syrup. I found that the
darker syrups have higher antioxidant potential. Sugar maple is a
recalcitrant meaning it is very difficult to propagate
it using tissue culture. With modification of
light intensity we could overcome the limitations
of all previous researchers and now we are
able to multiply sugar maple in
large numbers. NARRATOR: Since the late 1800’s,
plant agricultural scientists at the
University of Guelph have broadly impacted
the daily lives of growers, consumers
and industry in Canada and throughout
the world. Researcher scientists
in the Department of Plant Agriculture release
and test new crop, fruit and vegetable varieties
that increase yields, resist disease and pests,
resist chilling, add value to farmers’ fields,
and benefit the environment, the consumer and
industry, helping to bring more profit and
choice to rural areas. MOHAMMAD: I’m looking at
the non-darkening gene in pinto bean. Actually,
seed coat in pinto beans turns brown during
storage, so it causes value losses as
consumers think that these beans are
old or aged. We know that the
beans are a good source of protein
and dietary fibre so I’m trying to improve
the quality by developing non-darkening
pinto beans. To do that I developed
a mapping population. I’m going to study
the correlation between the
non-darkening trait and other important
agronomic traits such as days to flowering, again,
days to maturity, plant architecture
which is very important and also yield. I used to work as a
lab technician back home
in Iran. I was passionate about
continuing my education. Everything that
I’m learning I’m actually applying it.
I’m using it. That’s the
interesting thing. I have the opportunity
to use my knowledge in the field to get experience
with what I learn. NARRATOR: PhD graduates
will possess a strong foundation
on which they can be highly successful in
science-related positions in a variety of
working environments including government,
industry, consulting and academics. New state-of-the-art
technologies and processes being developed by
our researchers are helping to bring about
a new bio-based renewable economy,
better for both the farm ecosystem and
the consumer. LAUREN: My project focuses
on looking at plant growth
regulators and specifically melatonin and serotonin
which are kind of a non-traditional
but new category. So most people are
familiar with them as mammalian neurohormones
and neurotransmitters but they’re actually
present in plants and so my project
is really focusing on understanding why
they’re there and how they’re
accomplishing effects that we
may see from them. It’s very interesting for
melatonin and serotonin because they are found
in humans it has really big impact for
things like consuming crops and medicinal plants
because if we have high amounts of these
different compounds in plants it’s something we
need to know. Melatonin and serotonin
are very strongly implicated in promoting
plant growth and survival under stressful conditions
so by understanding how they work we can
actually take that and exploit it to improve
plant growth in an industrial situation. For me I think the most
interesting part is that I’m able to combine
two usually disparate fields. I’m doing a lot of
plant physiology and microscopy work but
I’m also able to combine that with analytical chemistry
and those are two fields that are usually very
separate but by bringing them together
you really get to see a full picture, but you
also get the numbers behind it. It’s very unique
and it’s very exciting. The facilities at the
University of Guelph are amazing for plant research.
I couldn’t believe it when I found how much
greenhouse space there was. So we have access to
analytical equipment and we have access
to cryo equipment and we have access
to microscopes which is very unusual
but it all is brought together under this
conservation umbrella and it makes it a very
uniquely rewarding place to work. The thing I noticed
the most when I first got to Guelph was how big
but how beautiful the campus is. Students are really
invited into Guelph and it makes a very
welcoming city to move to. Guelph actually has
a really great system of walking trails
that are very accessible from campus and
from a lot of the other areas in Guelph
so that’s been very nice. NARRATOR: PhD graduate students
receive generous Research Assistantships
which can be supplemented by numerous
Teaching Assistantships. There are several
scholarships available in the Department and College
to support their programs. For more information
regarding the application process please contact the
Graduate Co-ordinator. [music]