Perspectives Newsletter Spring 2016
Thursday, 16 June 2016 05:44

Message from President Sylvio Tessier

sylvioMaman, c’est finiiiiii! (it’s over), well almost…  Less than a month left in my President’s mandate.  But this will be the busiest month so far…  For one, I’m writing to you from some very dry place in Washington State’s Palouse region, quite close to where I took my PhD studies…  Small world!  Just a quick one for my past undergrad and grad students, and work trainees: I’m again tinkering on yet another seeder project, and t’is the time for long days…  Hands on, hands dirty, dust and grease here and there, that’s me all right.  So, some habits are hard to loose… but I am more patient, that I can tell you!

Published in Editorial


Don't miss the upcoming CSBE/SCGAB AGM and Technical Conference that will be held in Halifax during July 3-6!

The conference will provide great opportunity to share professional research, experience and insights with colleagues from Canada and beyond. The Local Organizing Committee is pleased to announce that more than 90 oral presentations/posters will be in the final program, which is now available online.  Currently over 90 conference delegates have registered for the full conference.  There will also be over 30 students participating in a new “roadtrip” initiative this year which includes attending some of the social conference events.

We are excited to present our program with keynote speaker, Dr Adam Fenech, director of the Climate Research Lab at the University of Prince Edward Island.  He has worked extensively in climate change and shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as a member of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  Our panel discussion will be on “the impact of climate change on sustainable food production: minimizing on-farm climate related risks” with panellists from Dalhousie University, University of New Brunswick and Industry.  The technical tour will showcase Dalhousie University’s Agricultural Campus, including the Bio-Environmental Engineering Centre (BEEC), aquaculture center and extension/business incubator (Perennia) and dairy/biogas farm.

Our FREE workshop on “Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Commercialization promises to be very interesting.  It will be presented by Kevin Dunn, the Director of the Industry Liaison and Innovation office at Dalhousie University, and also by Paul Richards from Innovacorp, Nova Scotia's early stage venture capital organization. This workshop, to be held on Sunday afternoon, is free of charge and open to all – please indicate your interest in attending this workshop by clicking on the following link: http://goo.gl/forms/GTfOBQUvo3Pm1El03

There will be plenty of opportunity to mingle and socialize, with the events that are organized, starting with the Sunday Opening Reception in the 8th floor Summit Suite of the World Trade Convention Center (WTCC) with beautiful harbour views. The Monday Evening Social/BBQ will be held at the Austinville Owl’s Club, located right on Lake Banook in Dartmouth, where picnic games will be organized.  The Tuesday Evening Awards Banquet at the WTCC will feature entertainment by local musicians, Mike “Cam” Campbell and Gordie Roach, presenting “Fiddle n’ Drum”, a musical event featuring traditional maritime and classic popular music.

posterinmypocketAlso, we are delighted to announce that the Canadian Society for Bioengineering CSBE/SCGAB 2016 Conference will be able to offer poster presenters the option of extra exposure of their posters via the new Poster in my Pocket App! This App is available FREE from the iTunes App store and Google Play Android store. As a poster presenter you can share your research with conference attendees and the rest of the world.  Many thanks to Elsevier for sponsoring this new feature.

Please visit our website for more information.  Our early-bird deadline has now passed, but you still have up until June 24th to register for the conference and events. 


The Local Organizing Committee is excited to welcome everyone to Halifax – we hope to see you soon! 

Su-Ling Brooks
Local Organizing Committee Co-Chair
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logo blueberrylogo DBEinn logo main dal fac agDAL Engineering DAL Engineering prog logo consumajElsevierlogopei eng

Published in Notices to Members
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 12:31

Executive Council elections

Dear CSBE-SCGAB member:

This year we are very fortunate to have a full slate of candidates for the Executive Council positions that are up for renewal. Nearly all of these positions are contested, which requires that you cast your electronic ballot in this year’s election to choose that people that will represent you on the Council. For a very few there might be only a single candidate, in which case your ratifying vote is required. Active elections are exciting because they are an opportunity for us to directly influence the governance and renewal of our Society.

You will receive a voting token early next week from the Electionbuddy mailing system. Please carefully consider the candidates that are presented and vote early! The poll will close at the AGM in Halifax and the new Council will be announced at that time.

Thank you in advance for your participation in your Society’s electoral process!


Grant Clark
CSBE-SCGAB Past-President

Published in Notices to Members
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 11:41

Meet Ontario CSBE Members

Anna Crolla (10 year member) received her chemical engineering degree and M.A.Sc from the University of Ottawa. Currently, she works for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at Kemptville, ON as an Environmental Specialist, with a focus on sustainability. Previously, Anna was a researcher for several years with the University of Guelph working with on-farm waste management, anaerobic digestion, technology evaluation and water quality assessment. Anna’s advice to younger members: ‘Never stop asking questions or looking for answers – we all have the capacity to learn so much more throughout our careers.’

Carl Bolton (35 year member) received his Agricultural Engineering degree from the University of Guelph. He is the owner/operator of his family’s 160 year old seed production and processing farm in southwest Ontario. He continues to serve as a director on several boards, including Ontario’s third largest credit union, Libro Credit Union that serves families, farms and enterprises in southwestern Ontario. Carl’s advice to younger members: ‘Networking is priceless; not only for job seeking, but for innovation and continuous learning.’

Published in Ontario Regional News
Valerie Orsat Carrie M Derick Award
Carrie M. Derick Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching & Supervision

Each year, the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is pleased to invite nominations for the Carrie M. Derick Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Supervision. This award acknowledges outstanding contributions to promoting graduate student excellence through teaching and supervision by a faculty member who has been supervising for 10 years or less.

At the 2016 Convocation, Professor Valérie Orsat, was the recipient of the Carrie M. Derick Award for Graduate Teaching and Supervison recognizing her outstanding work.


universite laval

Québec, le 7 juin 2016 - L’équipe ULtrac de l’Université Laval, composée d’étudiants des programmes de baccalauréat en génie agroenvironnemental, en agronomie ainsi qu’en science et technologie des aliments de la Faculté des sciences de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation, a terminé au premier au classement des équipes canadiennes et au 5e rang du classement général à l’International Quarter Scale Tractor Student Design Competition. Vingt-cinq équipes universitaires, majoritairement américaines, ont pris part à cette compétition qui s’est déroulée du 2 au 5 juin 2016 à Peoria, en Illinois, aux États-Unis. Le Canada était représenté par 4 équipes.

Une nette amélioration

Pour se classer en 5e position, l’ULtrac a dû se soumettre à 6 épreuves, notamment les tires (5e), le rapport écrit (8e) et la durabilité (7e). Classée 14e en 2015, l’équipe est fière d’avoir amélioré sa performance au classement général, et ce, de neuf positions.

L’année 2016 se distingue par la conception d’une transmission qui s’avère très prometteuse pour les années à venir. La compétition 2016 a prouvé la détermination et la persévérance de l’équipe à concevoir un tracteur ayant un système de transmission de pouvoir fiable et efficace. C’est une équipe forte, organisée et soudée qui prendra la relève l’an prochain.

À propos de la compétition 

La compétition internationale annuelle nord-américaine de design de mini-tracteurs, l’International Quarter Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, était à sa 19e édition et est organisée par l’American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). La compétition a pour objectif de tester les habiletés de design et de construction des futurs ingénieurs agricoles.

Quelques mots sur l’ULtrac

L’équipe ULtrac désire remercier ses généreux partenaires, qui ont permis de rendre possible la 17e participation de l’équipe à la compétition. L’équipe, composée de 13 étudiants de la Faculté des sciences de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation, était supervisée par le professeur Mohamed Khelifi.

Raphaël Soucy-Gauthier (Capitaine) et Simon Archambault (Co-Capitaine)
Équipe ULtrac 2016 


Soy has essential amino acids, protein and is a good source of fiber and calcium. But, it turns out; soy also has the ability to naturally protect people from food-borne illnesses like listeria.

A new study from the University of Guelph has found soy can limit the growth of some bacteria, such as listeria and pseudomonas, and it does it better than chemical-based agents. 

"Current synthetic-based, chemical-based anti-microbial agents kill bacteria indiscriminately, whether they are pathogenic or beneficial," researcher Suresh Neethirajan said. The body – and in particular, the intestines – need good bacteria to properly process the food we eat.The compounds in soybeans, however, do not kill off all bacteria, just the bad ones, Neethirajan said.

Natural way to curb bacteria

Soybean derivatives are already used in a variety of products including canned foods, cooking oils, meat alternatives, cheeses, ice cream and baked goods. Suresh Neethirajan, an engineering professor and director of the BioNano Laboratory at the university, said those with soy allergies need not worry about soy being used to prevent bacteria growth. He said their method isolates the active component of the soybean from the protein that causes allergic reactions. The soy isoflavones that are chemically similar to estrogen are also weeded out.

What is left is a compound that naturally stops the bad bacteria. Neethirajan said the problem with the synthetic additives that are currently used is that they can cause health problems.

"You do need good bacteria, beneficial bacteria, in our intestines to be able to properly process the food we eat, so that's why a lot of antibiotic food preservatives, which are made of synthetic chemicals, have ... side effects such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloating, gas," he said.

"Because of the selective specificity [by soy] towards inhibiting the pathogenic bacteria compared to beneficial bacteria, it will eliminate some of the health issues associated with the current synthetic-based food preservatives."

Different varieties, different results

The research isn't just good news for those concerned about the additives to their food – it may also be a boon for soybean producers. Neethirajan is now working to identify which varieties of soybeans are best at preventing bacteria from growing.

"That way we could help the producers of soybeans to choose which varieties they want to grow towards specific end applications," he said. He is also working on a method to extract the specific components that involves "using water at very high pressure to be able to separate these … specific components, so it's very environmentally friendly from the manufacturing perspective."

Neethirajan's study will appear in the July edition of the journal Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports.

Credits: CBC CanadaFood Safety MagazineManitoba Co-Operator

Published in Ontario Regional News

Group Photo Inception workshop

Inception workshop for the project Impacting nutritional security in India by scaling up utilization of postharvest and food technologies of small millets took place in Madurai, India at the beginning of April.  Participants in the workshop included team members from McGill University (Vijaya Raghavan and Valérie Orsat), the DHAN Foundation, the Government of Tamil Nadu, Tamil State University and IDRC. The 28 month project is being funded by GAC (Global Affairs Canada) through the CIFSRF (Canadian International Food Security Research Fund) program of IDRC (International Development Research Centre).


Published in General News
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 11:18

VP Technical Annual Report 2015-2016

The past year has been exciting and very challenging for the society. Serving as a VP (Technical) and as a Program Leader/Chair for Biological & Biomedical Engineering unit at the University of Guelph for almost 3 years, I have seen both sides of the coin.  For this 2015 to 2016 period, working closely with the CSBE Local Arrangements Committee and also looking at other operations, I must have spent at-least over 200 hours in the past several months on this volunteer position for the society.

In addition to serving as the Associate Editor for the Canadian Biosystems Engineering journal, the duties of the VP (Technical) involves preparations, arrangements and development of the technical program towards hosting the annual meeting. I served as a member of the Local Arrangements Committee of CSBE Halifax 2016 as an ex-officio.

Briefly, my activities over this past 12 months can be summarized as below for this past year.

  • Worked on a history project to create an album showcasing some fine aspects of the CSBE History with John Ogilvie - the Past President of CSBE and a Professor Emeritus of the University of Guelph
  • Liaised and obtained in-kind sponsorship with Elsevier on the 'Poster in My Pocket' service
  • Reviewed abstracts and put together the technical program – This involves extensive co-ordination in the technical arrangements, local arrangements, sponsorship and other activities
  • Prepared and sent several visa invitation letters for international delegates
  • Worked in the design and development of two display banners for the society events

The CSBE AGM 2016 will kick start on Sunday July 3, 2016 with a FREE workshop on 'Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Commercialization' offered by Paul Richards and Kevin Dunn of Dalhousie University. A total of 94 papers has been accepted for presentation from 115 submissions for this upcoming CSBE AGM 2016. Out of which, 66 papers will be presented as oral presentations and the remaining will be presented towards posters.

We have received a total of $8,000 in cash as sponsorship; thanks to a number of organizations including Wild Blueberry Producers association, Doug Bragg Industries, InnovaCorp, Dalhousie - Faculty of Engineering, Agriculture and the Department of Process Engineering and Applied Science, Consumaj, and the School of Sustainable Design Engineering of UPEI along with the in-kind contributions from Elsevier. 

As a voluntary organization with only a handful of local technical activities, committees and programs, CSBE is providing professional and technical as well as administrative services to all members at large. The quality of the technical program and activities are the direct product of contributions by the participating members and act as a thread that connects and binds the membership-at-large.

Similar to our sister societies, our CSBE society is facing several challenges including shrinking membership, lack of active participation at the local level and other related issues. These are tough times for the society, considering sustainable development. It is high time for us to prioritize and revamp the society activities, for sustainable functioning.

I extend my sincere thanks to all the LAC members of CSBE 2016, for their unwavering contributions and efforts in putting together this upcoming conference. As the society seeks new face for this VP (Technical) position, I would like to thank the chairs and members of the involved committees, technical as well as sponsorship teams for their hard work, dedicated support and their help in running this technical section of the CSBE.

Respectfully submitted,

Suresh Neethirajan, PhD., P.Eng

Published in VP Technical Reports
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 11:17

VP Membership annual report 2015-2016

Vice-President (Membership) – Harry Huffman

Another busy year for me but I did manage to participate in most of the CSBE-SCGAB Council meetings via conference call as well as the ASABE Membership Development Committee meeting in December (also via telephone conference call).

We were able to introduce a new membership fee category for international members working in countries with lower income status which began for 2016 memberships.

New membership certificates and a welcoming letter were prepared and distributed in November, 2015 and again in May of 2016 for those people first joining our organization in each of these years. Thank you to our very capable Society Manager, John Feddes for doing all of the paper work.

Any current members who do not have a membership certificate and would like one should contact our Society Manager, John Feddes or myself.

The term of initial membership for students was clarified as being between 5 and 16 months. A membership application made in September at the start of fall school term would run until December 31 of the following calendar year. Any application received between January and August in the current year would only be effective until December 31 of that same year.

Along with Ontario Regional Director, Hugh Fraser, we promoted membership in the CSBE-SCGAB at a careers night held at the University of Guelph in January 2016 and gave out 10 free 1-year student memberships to CSBE/SCGAB as a way to introduce them to our organization.  

I was in contact with Mark Crossley, Membership Director of ASABE regarding the possibility of streamlining membership renewal with the use of automatic credit card debiting after email communication with the member. However, ASABE was not receptive to the idea given a number of pit falls that they have discovered with this type of approach. Mark’s response was as follows: “We have discussed this in the past, and while it seems easy enough, other organizations that do this have told me it’s nothing but trouble. Not only do you have to worry about outdated credit card information (exp dates, security codes, updated card numbers, etc…), there’s also the security issue. As it currently stands, we don’t retain credit card information (it’s encrypted), as it goes through PayPal. While I know PP has been problematic for a lot of Canadian members, we’re very close to having an alternative processing system in place for taking CC payments going forward. I’ll keep you posted on that.  Regards – Mark”

Again this year (2016) our big concern was the large number of members who did not renew their membership for 2016. As of the end of March 2016, 53 members and 118 students had not renewed their membership (total of 426 paid memberships received to date). I requested that the Regional Directors try to make a personal contact with these potential members as I did with all of the unpaid international members to give them a gentle nudge to re-join the fold.

It would appear that the various personal contacts by Regional Directors and the Vice President (Membership) were effective, since the over-all 2016 membership numbers did rebound significantly but are still lower than 2015 final numbers by about 14%. It is likely that we will pick up a few more student members once the fall semester begins but that does not address the decline in the general membership category.   




Number of Members

December 2013

692 including 288 students & grad students

December 2014

689 including 300 students & grad students

December 2015

632 including 265 students & grad students

May 2016

541 including 223 students & grad students

I believe that declining membership numbers is an issue that will need to be addressed by the incoming vice president of membership and the rest of council.

Ending on a bright note, we have welcomed 3 new full members, 52 new student members and 10 new graduate student members for 2016.

Published in VP Membership Report
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