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Volume II Number 1 Winter 2005/ 06

O F F I C I A L P U B L I C AT I O N O F T H E A D VA N C E D F O O D S A N D M AT E R I A L S N E T W O R K

Tania Bubela and Tim Caulfied (front), along with Ubaka Ogbogu, Megan Koper, Thomas Moran and Kanchana Fernando, are researching how the media represent food biotechnology.

Reading into research reports... page 12


Dr. Rickey Yada

BioEnterprise Corporation is a Not-For-Profit company founded in 2003 through the financial support of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, established to help promote the creation, growth and expansion of businesses the Agri-Food and Life Sciences Industries. Acting

In this issue of Advance, you’ll read about 15 exciting research projects involving researchers from different disciplines and from across the country. They’re working together on projects that range from the health attributes of fish oils and the antioxidants found in common plant materials to issues in food safety.

as coach and catalyst, BioEnterprise works with companies, from start-up and early stage to emerging and well-established businesses. Through the BioEnterprise Global Network, BioEnterprise

I welcome your feedback, your interest and your input. I hope our work inspires new ideas and new opportunities to partner for change. Most of all, I trust this glimpse of the future in Canadian food and related materials research is only the beginning of what we can do together.

garners the critical components most needed to mitigate risks inherent in early stage businesses and accelerate their growth and expansion; ultimately creating successful, sustainable businesses

Dr. Murray McLaughlin

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519-821-2960

dave.smardon@bioenterprise.ca

Volume II Number 1 Winter 2005/06 The official publication of the Advanced Foods and Materials Network A publication to promote dialogue and understanding about sophisticated foods and materials research across Canada. Executive Editors Rickey Yada Allan Paulson Editor Owen Roberts Associate Editors Mitch Ritter Marianne Clark Project Co-ordinators Kate Roberts Co-ordination Assistant Robert Fieldhouse Copy Editor Barbara Chance

Rickey Yada Scientific Director

in the Agri-Food, Life Sciences and Bio-Products sectors.

Dave Smardon, President

AFMnet investigators inspire positive change from the ground up, in a multidisciplinary way. Innovative and creative research is both the catalyst and the enabler for change, growth and understanding. In addition, AFMNet understands that communicating our research and disseminating new knowledge will only have currency if that communication endures the same rigour as the research itself and is shared with government, academic and public sectors both in Canada and around the world. AFMNet taps into some of the brightest minds in Canada with a goal of creating a new understanding, from atoms to applications, from farms to consumers, from the minds of Canadian food-processing experts to tables around the world — and in totally new, non-food applications.

Food and Rural Affairs. BioEnterprise is a commercialization agent,

For further information contact:

Welcome to our second annual edition of Advance, the official publication of the Advanced Food and Materials Network (AFMNet).

Design JnD Marketing The collective intent of AFMNet is to boost Canada's global place in agribusiness products and new ideas that go well beyond the usual commodities. While collaborative research is what we do, applications and private-sector partnering are increasingly the focus of AFMNet. We are developing a community of skills that will be the envy of the world. The AFMNet Highly Qualified Personnel team is leading our efforts in that area. We are also working with government organizations to ensure good science is available for sound regulatory and policy decisions. Connecting science, inspiring new scientists, making knowledge available — what happens next is the transfer of these skills and ideas to the marketplace. Our focus on partnering will produce results in processing labs and on the street, where the Canadian economy is looking for new ideas as well as in new applications for renewable agri-resources. That is our ultimate goal. We’re excited about communicating our activities and achievements with you through this edition of Advance.

Financial Manager Jan Smith Address correspondence to: Tania Framst, Network Co-ordinator 150 Research Lane, Suite 215 Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 4T2 Email: tframst@uoguelph.ca Visit the AFMNet website: www.afmnet.ca This publication was written by students in the SPARK program — an acronym for Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge — at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

Murray McLaughlin Chair of the Board of Directors, AFMNet

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The truth about oats: It’s in the muffins

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Spontaneous spheres? Think fettuccine

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Rob Fieldhouse

There’s something fishy about this food

Kate Roberts

7 Spending her summer interning at the Networks of Centres of Excellence Secretariat in Ottawa, Kate Roberts learned even more about how to communicate science. In her third year of marketing, she also helped co-ordinate and write for this issue of Advance. Outside of school and work, Kate enjoys playing various sports from soccer to basketball to volleyball. This year, she expanded her nutraceuticals know-how by writing stories on fish oils, beta-glucan and omega-3s (page 8).

Alicia Roberts

Plant protection for people

An avid reader and theatre fan, third-year drama student Alicia Roberts has enjoyed expanding her cultural experience and knowledge of research in school and in the workplace. Participating in the SPARK program at the University of Guelph has allowed her to write about a breadth of research activities, including antioxidant-rich berries, diffusion mathematics, food labeling processes and even newspaper articles themselves. See her story on media representation of research on page 13.

Martin Schwalbe

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Martin Schwalbe

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Extracting the essentials

Martin Schwalbe

Foods and Health

Martin Schwalbe

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CONTENTS

As a biophysics master’s student in the University of Guelph’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Robert Fieldhouse is combining computer power and laboratory science to identify and characterize new bacterial toxins. In his spare time, he enjoys salsa dancing and keeps fit through weight training. During his second year as a SPARK writer, he helped co-ordinate this issue of Advance.Turn to page 20 to read his story on DNA biosensors.

Heather Filby

CONTRIBUTORS

In addition to canoeing, hiking and bicycling, recent mathematics graduate Heather Filby enjoys spending her time reading and writing. Newly married, Heather and her husband are aficionados of the piano, violin, flute and classical guitar. Now employed at GJA Communications in Guelph, she wrote her last SPARK story on consumer acceptability of functional foods (page 12).

Consumer and Ethical Issues Reading into research reports

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Fear factor

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The writing is on the label

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Advanced safety for advanced foods

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Growing pains

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Materials Flipping the molecular switch for food safety

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Fish-ola

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MRIs for fries

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Remodeling math

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SANS:The battleground for unwanted bacteria

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Cover photo by Richard Siemens

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Foods and Health

Extracting the essentials Researchers look at creating extracts from antioxidant nutrients by Alicia Roberts

Mitch Ritter

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Plant protection for people Nature’s best defence compounds apply to humans, too by Robert Fieldhouse Plants routinely defend themselves against a barrage of attacks from pathogens. Now AFMNet researchers are discovering — and commercializing — some of the best defence compounds from plants to benefit all Canadians, from growers to consumers. Prof. Patrick von Aderkas and Dr. Brett Poulis of the Department of Biology at the University of Victoria are studying compounds found in conifers such as the Douglas fir. They’re particularly interested in the trees’ ovular secretions, which are filled with proteins and low-molecular-weight compounds. Some of these molecules are antimicrobial and are present during reproduction to defend against foreign invaders such as bacteria and fungi. It turns out these compounds can also be used by humans to create new antimicrobial medical and agricultural products. So, von Aderkas and Poulis are collecting these secretions, screening them for promising compounds and working to bring these compounds to the antimicrobial market, already valued at $30 billion US worldwide. “There’s a huge demand for new antibiotics and antifungals in agriculture, forestry, food science and medicine,” says von Aderkas. “What we’re doing is borrowing from nature because it has a very old and successful defence strategy.” Here’s how it works. During conifer reproduction, pollen blows through the air before it lands on the ovule prior to fertilizing it. But if the ovule is open to pollen, it’s also open to invading airborne pathogens. So conifers produce a liquid secretion within the ovule tip where pollen is collected. This secretion is the plants’ first line of defence against the outside world, providing protection from pathogens that blow in with the pollen. Previously, researchers didn’t collect these secretions because the droplets were too tiny, ranging from 10 to 50 nanolitres (about one-hundredth to one-twentieth the size of a pinhead). But now, researchers have more efficient collection techniques, as well as access to new instruments that make analysis possible on far less material. In fact, one millilitre of secretion is enough to supply researchers for a year. Von Aderkas and Poulis discovered an array of conifer defence compounds by probing these secretions. The antifungal and antibacterial components they found are mainly pathogenesis-related (disease-causing) proteins and a host of low-molecular- weight

antimicrobial compounds, such as a weak organic acid that can harm microbes and perhaps even help in signalling further defence responses. Conifers use all these compounds to protect themselves, says von Aderkas. They create a sophisticated multi-layered defence system. It’s difficult for pathogens to penetrate this system because staying safe doesn’t depend on just one protective compound. Using advanced biochemical tools, von Aderkas and Poulis separate, identify and purify the protective compounds. They’re also testing the function of the most interesting compounds, keeping commercial potential in mind. They expect to have a company established by year’s end. It will produce defence compounds in tobacco plants on a large, commercially useful scale. Harvesting compounds from the huge tobacco leaves will yield a motherlode for the researchers, who plan to supply the agricultural and medical industries with products such as seed encapsulations that could help the forestry industry tackle fungi contamination, non-allergenic artificial skins, and topical antibacterial or antifungal creams. This research, which started in 1999, was conducted in part at the University of Victoria-Genome British Columbia Proteomics Centre. Other contributors to this project are Dr. Stephen O’Leary of NERP Technologies, Prof. Robert Thornburg of Iowa State University and numerous students. Von Aderkas says the AFMNet board — particularly Larry Milligan, Rickey Yada, Jeffrey Turner and Murray McLaughlin — has greatly supported the team in setting up the company. This research is sponsored by the Advanced Foods and Materials Network and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.  Dr. Stephen O’Leary

Using antioxidants as extracts from fruits such as blueberries can add extra-nutritional value to foods.

Antioxidants have been shown to have immense human health benefits, particularly against carcinogens. But can they be used to their full potential? Dr. David Kitts of the University of British Columbia and his team of researchers are looking at the benefits of antioxidants — specifically, phytochemicals, the plant-produced chemicals believed to provide health benefits — to see how effective they are in triggering reactions and tolerance to oxidative stress. Kitts believes they could be modified into an extract for functional foods. “Although the phytochemicals we’re looking at aren’t considered nutrients on their own, we want to understand the health and wellness they may actually provide to a consumer,” he says. “Researchers have extracted extra-nutritional value from many fruits and herbs that represent constituents for formulated functional foods, which is where our collaboration with AFMNet is so helpful. We can work with them, and they can work with us.” Oxidation is a normal and vital metabolic process in cells, but it has potentially toxic byproducts if not removed. Cells differ in their relative ability to tolerate or remove those byproducts. That’s where antioxi-

dants come in — they help cells deal with the stress brought on by these toxins. Kitts is looking at two specific chemicals with high-antioxidant behaviours: anthocyanin, a pigment found in plants called a flavonoid; and a mixture of ginsenocides, representing bioactive agents in the ginseng plant. Specifically, he’s looking at how the chemicals neutralize free radicals (unstable atoms) and products of oxidation. He’s also studying whether these activities carry over to people who have consumed these modified extracts. Studies are being conducted on both chemicals. Anthocyanins are associated with soft root fruits like blackberries, strawberries and blueberries, giving the fruits colour. They contain a protective mechanism against light and autoxidation (oxidation by air at ordinary temperatures) lipid reactions. Kitts wants to know how different cells tolerate oxidative stress and the efficiency of these phytochemicals in reducing oxidative stress. Ginsenocides in North American ginseng differ from Asian ginsenocides in composition. He and his team are studying ways to provide a process that may tailor or modify ginsenocide content from the standpoint of bioactive properties that will reduce cell stress and enhance tolerance and management of oxidative stress through designated avenues of cell communication. With this information, the team can create a nutritional extract for functional foods. Using high-pressure liquid chromatography and cell culture techniques, Kitts is bringing together analytical quantitative composition information to blend with specific biological responses. This will help in designing a fingerprint for each standardized extract of each herb. “It’s very important that we understand the principles underlying the bioactive properties of these components,” he says. “Once we understand these many different and diverse activities, we may be able to predict with confidence how these bioactive properties will function in formulated food systems that contain them.” Other researchers involved in this project are Profs. Tim Durance of UBC, Tito Scaiano of the University of Ottawa and Feral Temelli of the University of Alberta. This research is funded by the Advanced Foods and Materials Network. 

The liquid droplets emitted from conifer seeds, called ovular secretions, shown here, help protect plants from invaders like bacteria and fungi and may soon be used as antibiotics for humans. AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

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Foods and Health

Are the omega-3s incorporated into eggs, milk and bread as heart-healthy as the real thing? Certain fatty acids in fish reduce heart disease mortality and improve brain functioning and visual and cognitive performance. For convenience’s sake — and because some people just don’t like to eat fish — products containing fish fatty acids are being developed. But AFMNet researchers wonder if these alternative forms are truly as effective as the real thing. Dr. Bruce Holub, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph, and Dr. Peter Jones, School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at McGill University, are planning to use clinical trials to test products that have been enhanced with omega-3s to see if they’re giving consumers the same amount of omega-3s — and the same health benefits — that fish does. Research has shown that fish oil can lower a blood fat called triglyceride, a risk factor for heart attacks, says Holub. “If we can show that the fish oils in alternative forms are just as effective as natural fish oils in lowering triglycerides, people can get the benefits without actually having to eat fish.” Most North Americans don’t get enough omega-3s, but scientists have figured out ways to get the fatty acids into well-liked foods such as eggs, milk and bread. Omega-3s can be added to some foods naturally, such as feeding cows and chickens an omega-3 diet that they pass on through their milk and eggs. For baked goods, fish oil can be added in microencapsulated form (surrounded by a starchy coating). This makes a fine powder, like

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flour, that can be used in a highly stable, heatresistant form as an ingredient in baked products. This microencapsulated form can also be added to beverages. Other strategies for boosting omega-3 consumption include adding high-quality fish oil to products such as ready-to-use scrambled egg mixes. If the alternate forms are found to be effective, Holub says doctors could suggest that their patients eat certain omega-3-enriched foods, which could ultimately prevent them from having to take triglyceride drugs by the time they’re 50. It could also prevent early heart disease and heart attacks. “If the health-care system can become involved, we can have foods that reduce risk factors for heart disease and introduce them to people in their 20s, so they can avoid having a heart attack 30 years down the road,” he says. “This will dramatically reduce health-care costs.” This project was funded by the Advanced Foods and Materials Network, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and Burnbrae Farms. 

Kate Roberts

by Kate Roberts

Alicia Roberts

There’s something fishy about this food

Testing the benefits of omega-3enriched eggs against conventional omega-3-rich commodities will tell researcher Bruce Holub if these enhanced foods are viable alternatives for heart-healthy consumers.

Eating two omega-3 eggs a day may help pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers improve the brain and visual functioning of their children.

It takes two, baby Aside from helping to stave off heart disease, omega-3s are important during pregnancy. In particular, the omega-3 called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) improves brain function, cognitive performance (learning and spelling ability) and visual performance. But pregnant women all over the world aren’t consuming enough DHA, says Dr. Bruce Holub.The optimal level is about 300 mg a day, but the average pregnant woman in Canada takes in only 80 mg. If omega-3enriched eggs are found to give the same benefits as eating fish, Holub says eating two of them — which contain about 80 mg of DHA each — added to the daily average consumption of omega3s found in other foods, would bring the total close to 300 mg. After the baby’s born, DHA finds its way to the infant through breast milk. Holub says omega-3s should make up about 0.3 per cent of the milk fat, but the average Canadian mother has only half that amount in her milk. He says adding two omega-3 eggs to lactating mothers’ diets would probably increase the milk percentage to the recommended level.

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Foods and Health

The truth about oats: It’s in the muffins Oats’ alleged heart-healthy dietary fibre, beta-glucan, is getting a fresh look from this research team by Kate Roberts

Mitch Ritter

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Spontaneous spheres? Think fettuccine These uniquely shaped membranes could play role in drug delivery by Kate Roberts Discoveries come in many forms, and for Dr. John Katsaras, senior research officer at the National Research Council’s (NRC) Canadian Neutron Beam Centre, and his team of researchers, their discovery came in the shape of hollow spheres. And not just any hollow spheres, but ones that form spontaneously, with the potential to encapsulate and deliver drugs to targeted parts of the body. Over the last few years, Katsaras and his colleagues have been looking at “bicellar” (bilayered micelle) mixtures of long- and shortchain lipids, which are used extensively in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-assisted research to reveal the three-dimensional structure of membrane-associated proteins. While doing so, the team was able to alter the mixtures to produce uniformly shaped and stable spheres called liposomes, made entirely of phospholipids (the molecules found in all cell membranes). It’s commonly thought that, in NMR experiments, these lipid mixtures form small disc-shaped, membrane-like pieces called bicelles. These bicelles help align proteins in the NMR magnetic field. But Katsaras and his AFMNet colleagues were skeptical of the bicelle model. By using advanced scattering techniques such as neutron scattering (performed at AECL’s National Research Universal reactor at Chalk River, Ont.), X-ray and light scattering, they found that many different shapes are formed by the bicellar lipid mixtures and that their phase behaviour is more complex than previously thought. Along with Mu-Ping Nieh of NRC and Thad Harroun of the University of Guelph, the research team was able to disprove the widely held belief that bicelles were the type of membrane environment found during NMR-assisted studies. “We’re trying to change scientists’ conceptions of what the membrane environment is for NMR experiments, away from the simple bilayered discs,” says Katsaras. “The assembly of lipids that orient in the presence of a magnetic field actually look more like ribbons or fettuccine.” This discovery led the team to create the first comprehensive phase diagrams — basically a road map that tells what morpholo-

gies are formed at what temperature, charge and concentration. “The strong magnetic field in NMR is usually not present when altering these properties,” says Harroun. “We now want to know what difference this might make.” In the course of this research, Nieh discovered that by adding the right amount of charge, he could alter the lipid’s behaviour, leading to the spontaneous appearance of liposomes. These liposomes have the potential to deliver new therapies (such as gene therapy and DNA vaccines) and to reduce the toxicity of existing drugs while increasing their efficacy. These liposomes are also stable and uniform, making them ideal candidates for encapsulating drugs for drug delivery. And that’s significant. For years, the pharmaceutical industry has been testing liposomes to help target drugs to specific parts of the body, as well as to hide the drug from the body’s immune system to improve circulation times. The first liposome-based drugs made it to market in the 1990s; now, a number of liposomal or lipid-based therapies are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and in Europe.

Think fettuccine — one of the shapes in the new recipe for drug delivery formulated by A F M n e t researchers.

Brian Fray

Is beta-glucan, that strange-sounding fibre found in oats, really good for reducing cholesterol? At one time, it was all the rage. Then other research debunked its heralded hearthealthy standing. Now, a team of AFMNet researchers has designed a project that tests oats’ processing and storing methods, to try to reach a definitive answer about this fibre’s ability to lower serum cholesterol, the level of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Project leader Dr. Thomas Wolever of the University of T o r o n t o believes past studies were inconsistent in the concentration, molecular weight and chemical structure of beta-glucan

when it was incorporated into foods. So using what he thinks is a better indicator for evaluating beta-glucan’s effectiveness, he will study the glycemic response (the presence of glucose in blood) and then the cholesterol level in humans who have consumed beta-glucan-infused food. “This is the first time those properties of beta-glucan have been examined,” says Wolever, “and it’s necessary to have a comprehensive evaluation of it.” Oats are one of the best sources of beta-glucan. It was believed that beta-glucan’s effect on cholesterol was related to how viscous (or thick) it was. But that relationship has not been demonstrated in humans. Dr. Peter Wood of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has brought his expertise in the chemistry and physicochemical properties of dietary fibre to assess beta-glucan’s concentration and molecular weight, two properties Wolever believes are causing cholesterol to lower. Past research didn’t have consistent measures of those properties, which is why Canada has yet to match the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s claim that products containing oats may reduce the risk of heart disease. Another reason Wolever thinks past studies gave inconsistent results is the variety of processing and storage methods. “Changing temperature, baking time, freezing, storage and contact with other ingredients can change the fibre so that it no longer benefits the human body,” he says. Previous studies have shown that when beta-glucan is incorporated into bread, the enzymes in the flour break the fibre down and shorten the chain lengths. And when bread is frozen, beta-glucan solubility falls. So the team will first examine samples of the beta-glucan gum with variable molecular weight and chemical structure, then mix different beta-glucan concentrations into muffin batter. The muffins will then go through various freeze-thaw cycles to test the beta-glucan’s solubility. The researchers theorize that the more the muffins are frozen and thawed, the less soluble the fibre will be and the less impact it will have on blood glucose. “It will be a great achievement to give added value to products by simply altering their processing stage,” Wolever says. 

But the liposomes being formed in this project are even more advanced because they’re stable and form spontaneously. That’s unlike current liposome technology, which requires the input of mechanical energy to form them and results in inherently unstable preparations. Says Harroun: “By understanding the conditions that cause our bicelles to form and remain stable, we hope to engineer their size and their ability to carry various pharmaceuticals.” Others members of this research team include the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council visiting fellow Jeremy Pencer and undergraduate summer students Martin Koslowski (Queen’s University), Charles de Lannoy (McGill University) and Christine Desrochers (University of Guelph), who joined the NRC group as Deep River Science Academy tutors. Katsaras plans to collaborate with other AFMNet researchers who are interested in testing specific drugs with these new spontaneously forming liposomes. 

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Consumer and Ethical Issues

Reading into research reports Researchers look at how — and how accurately — media represent research by Alicia Roberts The media — Internet, television, newspapers, radio — are the main source of news and information for millions of people. But when it comes to science, are journalists getting it right? University of Alberta professors Timothy Caulfield, Faculty of Law, and Tania Bubela, School of Business, are looking at how the mainstream media portray research findings. With help from Bubela’s students, the team is reading up on peer-review journals and news articles that may be contradictory to each other. “We’re trying to get a sense of the accuracy and tone of news coverage,” says Caulfield. “Then we can get a sense of the impact of media representations on policy development. In fact, this is some research we would like to do further down the road.” The researchers are looking at news articles from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom based on the results of clinical trials published in scientific journals and peer reviews. The trials deal with complementary and alternative medicine, including herbal remedies, nutraceuticals and some food biotechnology products.

Paula Bialski

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Specifically, the team members are trying to determine if the main claims made in news articles accurately reflect research findings. They will compare the articles to see if there are discrepancies in the descriptions of the research, risks or benefits that could result in confusion. “We’ve found in the area of gene discoveries that the media have been surprisingly accurate in their reflections of research reporting,” says Bubela. “With the herbal remedies, though, it seems that there is a significantly more negative tone and a real lack of investigative journalism.” Early results show that news articles are simplified from scientific journals almost to the point of inaccuracy, but rarely is something completely wrong. The most striking finding is the complete lack of newspaper coverage of risks such as increased side effects and the overreporting of trials with negative results. On the other hand, benefits are well covered in both newspaper and research articles. Researchers have long been concerned that mainstream media communicate information incorrectly. But Bubela says the researchers themselves should be careful with their words because anything said during an interview with a reporter is considered fair game, and comments made outside the research results can be used in an article whether they deal with the research or not. Bubela presented preliminary results from this study, which began in 2004, at the AFMNet HQP Conference in Montreal in October. Full publication of the results is expected early in the new year. University of Alberta students involved in this project are Megan Koper, Science and Pharmacology, and Thomas Moran, English. Also participating is Heather Boon of the University of Toronto. This research is funded by the Advanced Foods and Materials Network. 

Rating the news Comparing newspaper articles and journal articles requires a consistent framework for judging content. Prof. Tania Bubela and her students have determined such criteria to help study media representation of herbal remedy clinical trials. 1. Trial run. The published journal articles were examined for data such as who conducted the research, where the research was published, if it was framed as a controversy, benefits and risks, conflict of interest and trial funding. These trials were published in peer-reviewed medical and specialist complementary and alternative medicine journals. 2. Generic trial search. This search of large newspaper databases was conducted to find on-topic articles. Then, a more specific keyword search was performed in both PUBMED and the newspaper databases to pick up the trial itself and all newspaper coverage it generated. The team used the coding frame to compare the newspaper articles with the clinical trial, asking questions dealing with technical accuracy of coverage and whether the main claims and results were accurately reflected. The method was robust enough to detect errors of omission, such as whether the newspaper article reported on things such as randomization and the use of placebos. With this coding frame, it’s easier to judge whether the articles are consistent with the research results and whether they have a negative impact on how the public perceives the research.

Studying newspaper and journal articles will help AFMNet researchers determine if the media accurately reflects scientific findings. AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

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Consumer and Ethical Issues

Fear Factor Why are some technologies welcomed and others shunned? by Heather Filby

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The writing is on the label

From left David Castle, Anthony Vander Schaaf, Vinay Kanetkar, Chris Norman and Karen Finlay are looking at the processes that go into food labeling.

Less could be more when it comes to labelling genetically modified foods

Consumers weigh the perceived risks and rewards of certain food technologies — such as genetic modification, irradiation and additives — before buying the affected food products, according to a University of Guelph survey.

by Alicia Roberts

Martin Schwalbe

Most consumers don’t think twice about buying milk that’s been pasteurized. But other technologies — such as genetic modification — often raise red flags. University of Guelph researchers are leading a multidisciplinary study to determine why some food technologies are more acceptable than others, and what the agriculture and food industry can do to boost consumer acceptance. Prof. Spencer Henson, Department of Agricultural Economics and Business, says preliminary results suggest the trade-off between perceived risks and benefits is one of the most important influences on how consumers receive new food technologies. “Consumers are willing to take a risk if they receive greater benefits such as improved health, better quality or lower price,” says Henson. “If the benefits outweigh the perceived risks, consumers are more likely to buy into the product.” Consumers are influenced by what he calls “the dread factor.” For example, cancer is such a feared disease that consumers won’t accept any food technology that’s been associated with it, no matter how tenuous the connection. Other significant factors, says Henson, include whether consumers believe they can control exposure to the new technology, how well they themselves understand the technology and whether they think the technology is understood by scientists. His research team is using a unique respondent-designed survey that allows consumers to articulate their food technology concerns in their own words. Participants are presented with existing food technologies such as food additives, genetic modification, irradiation, vacuum packing, pasteurization, microwave ovens and canning, as well as non-food technologies such

as X-rays, nuclear power, cell phones, computers and aircraft. The survey then asks participants to indicate, in their own words, which technologies concern them and why. Henson says the survey results will help determine what values drive consumer choices, which in turn can help industries and the government promote their products in a way that maximizes consumer acceptance. That could boost companies’ sales and give them a competitive edge in national and international markets, while addressing consumer concerns about new food technologies. In the future, Henson and his research group will conduct in-depth case studies on specific food technologies and see how the food industry manages consumer concerns. By the end of the summer, he also hopes to create a tool to predict how a new food technology will be perceived by consumers. “Industries have to build up consumer acceptance of a product right from the start, not when it’s about to hit the market,” he says. U of G members of his interdisciplinary research team are Profs. John Cranfield and David Sparling and post-doctoral researchers Mamane Annou and Deepananda Herath, Department of Agricultural Economics and Business; Prof. Rickey Yada, Department of Food Science; and Prof. Valerie Davidson, School of Engineering. Also on the team are University of Saskatchewan agricultural economics professor Jill Hobbs and Timothy Beattie, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia. This research is sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Advanced Foods and Materials Network. 

Canadian consumers are curious customers, but how much information do they really want? That’s the question philosophy professor David Castle of the University of Guelph is trying to answer. He’s leading a study that’s investigating whether or not food labels should include information about genetically modified (GM) foods. “Genetic modification means different things to different people,” says Castle. “We’re investigating from an ethical standpoint and trying to determine more than just whether or not people want the information, but also why they want the information and how they can use it. We ultimately want answers to these questions so we can develop recommendations for labelling policies that accurately reflect Canadian values.” When asked, a majority of Canadians say they would prefer to have labels on GM foods and would like more information as opposed to less. But consumers don’t specify what type of information they would prefer and, more important, why they want that information. This makes it difficult to determine what and how much information is appropriate. And currently, the Canadian General Standards Board says labelling is a voluntary standard, which means the industry creating the product can decide to use labels or not. Castle is working with Prof. Conrad Brunk of the University of Victoria’s Department of Philosophy, Prof. Karen Finlay and Vinay Kanetkar of Guelph’s Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies and Guelph graduate students Chris Norman and Anthony Vander Schaaf. The team is analyzing existing studies and conducting focus-group exercises to help determine whether labelling GM foods would be useful to consumers and what motivates them to buy GM or non-GM products. “The scope of what people worry about with genetic modification is wide, and it always will be,” says Castle. “The cause for concern might arise from a different background of information than what industries expect, so we need to know why the information is needed and how it will help the consumer.” This is a two-year study. The first year will focus on the consumer surveys and data collection; the second year will focus on the development of a policy statement.  AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

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Consumer and Ethical Issues

Advanced safety for advanced foods Researchers address consumer concerns about genetic modification by Robert Fieldhouse

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tools, they’ll label, separate and quantify these fragments to look for protein profile changes from genetic modification. Fortin and Forsberg are also following changes in 25 cell membrane lipids (fatty acids), more than 100 cellular metabolites and as many individual proteins in major food tissues. All these steps add up to a comprehensive safetyassessment strategy, says Forsberg. Fortin notes that Canada “has the potential to be a strong leader internationally for developing new methodologies that reinforce a science-based approach to assessing food safety and establishing a regulatory framework. That step is absolutely mandatory to gain consumer support.” Other researchers involved in this project at McGill University include graduate students Julie Beaulieu, Geneviève Morin and Kei Chin Cheng, post-doctoral fellow Dan Kiambi and research assistants Victoria Muise and Christine Ide of the Department of Plant Science. Participants at Guelph include Prof. Serguei Golovan and graduate student Chris Verschoor, Department of Animal and Poultry Science; and post-doctoral fellow Tom Wright and research associate Sandra Walters, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. The study also involves specialists at Health Canada and ENTRANSFOOD in Europe. This research is sponsored by the Advanced Foods and Materials Network, industry partners and le Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies. 

New safety tools will help reveal whether pig proteins have been altered from genetic modification.

JnD MARKETING

Consumer concerns about genetically modified foods are prompting the development of new analysis techniques. These techniques, involving minute profiles and comparisons of genetically modified and conventional varieties of food, will help regulators make sound science-based decisions about food safety for new food products. Prof. Marc Fortin of the Department of Plant Science at McGill University and Prof. Cecil Forsberg of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph are creating and comparing gene, protein, lipid and metabolite profiles of both transgenic and non-transgenic foods. “Our results will allow regulators to move to a higher level when it comes to safety assessment,” says Fortin. So far, genetic modification in plants has focused on the addition of new proteins that aren’t part of an organism’s metabolism and don’t affect basic cell properties. But the next generation of genetically modified plants and animals will be different. Components from natural cellular metabolism are starting to be altered, prompting scientists to watch for unintended effects such as increased or decreased gene expression. “Currently, scientists add new proteins to an organism just like hood ornaments are added to cars,” says Fortin. “But with the new generation of genetic modifications, scientists are changing the core of the machine.” The current approach to ensuring the safety of new foods is what Fortin refers to as “substantial equivalence,” meaning that transgenic foods are safe if they’re identical (except for the intentionally introduced trait) to their non-transgenic food counterparts. Previously, equivalence was assessed using a few dozen cellular components. But now, the researchers are documenting these components by the thousands, ensuring a greater degree of accuracy. Their focus will be on comparing gene expression profiles of 36,000 soybean genes and 13,000 pig genes. They’re also studying protein profiles. For example, Forsberg’s team will isolate pig proteins and separate them into protein fragments. Using advanced biochemical

AFMNet – ADVANCE / 2005

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Growing pains

Kate Roberts

Consumer and Ethical Issues

Struggles begin with Ottawa’s new natural health product regulations by Robert Fieldhouse

Albert Wong

Natural health product regulations help protect consumers, but AFMNet researchers such as Heather Boon (below) want to know what implications these regulations have for the companies and practitioners that distribute them.

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Natural health products have long been on Canadians’ radar screen — even more so now as the aging population looks for ways to maintain its well-being. And that means the need to guarantee consumer safety is growing, too. In response, the federal government has developed and is implementing natural health product regulations, which are being met with varying degrees of enthusiasm by industry and practitioners. An AFMNet research team is looking at how the new regulations are affecting stakeholders. Prof. Heather Boon of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto is examining the impact of the new Health Canada regulations on alternative medicine practitioners and companies that manufacture, import or sell natural health products. Her study includes analyzing over-thecounter items such as herbal and homeopathic remedies, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Boon and her research team interviewed companies and practitioners to learn about their experiences with the new regulations, which were adopted in 2004. They’re looking at stakehold-

AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

ers’ knowledge and perceptions of the regulations as well as their adherence to them. “We want to know how the regulations are affecting these people, if they have met compliance deadlines and whether or not it was difficult to comply,” she says. The regulations will be phased in over six years. They specify that manufacturers must now provide evidence of effectiveness and safety and must label those products that make specific health claims. The labels must also list potential adverse reactions. All new products must be approved by the federal government before hitting shelves. Graduate student Hina Laeeque interviewed representatives from companies across Canada, focusing on those producing glucosamine and chondroitin (compounds often used together to ease arthritis and joint discomfort).

Her results suggest that all companies familiar with the regulations are making an effort to comply. Large firms believe compliance is socially and strategically beneficial, and they tend to have the financial and human resources needed to meet the regulations. Smaller companies tend to feel obligated to comply when they’re aware of the regulations, says Laeeque, but some of them are uninformed. She says the cost and time demands associated with compliance (including learning about the regulations) may present significant challenges to smaller companies, making it difficult for them to comply and eventually causing them to close. Fear of bad publicity and government penalties seemed to motivate compliance among large and small companies alike. They also share the opinion that Health Canada was too slow when it came to helping companies adhere to the regulations. For example, companies complained that it takes many months for Health Canada to provide feedback on their product licence applications. “People thought the regulations were a good idea and were generally willing to comply,” says Boon. “But the interviews revealed that working with Health Canada to comply with regula-

tions was frustratingly slow for many.” For another segment of this research, graduate student Karen Moss interviewed Ontario practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine and homeopathic, naturopathic and herbal medicine who currently give natural health products to their patients. She found some practitioners were concerned that regulations would empower people to self-medicate and that such self-medication may not always be appropriate. But, she adds, it’s difficult to know whether this concern arises from feared income loss or genuine worry about the safety of consumers who lack practitioners’ expertise. Next, Boon plans to interview pharmacists, dietitians and other industry stakeholders and look into changing public perceptions. University of Toronto research associate Natasha Kachan and Prof. Tim Caulfield of the University of Alberta contributed to this project. Future collaborations will include Prof. Spencer Henson of the University of Guelph. This research is sponsored by the Advanced Foods and Materials Network.  AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

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Materials

Brandon Denard

DNA plays key role in developing advanced biosensors by Robert Fieldhouse

DNA consists of four base pairs, made up of nitrogenrich molecules which code for specific traits. Normally, the bases adenine (A) and thymine (T) pair up, while cytosine (C) and guanine (G) attract one another. In this simplified illustration of artificially created DNA, three pairs of bases opposite one another do not match up properly, forming a pocket which then binds a target molecule, creating an electric charge.

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Biosensors — tiny devices that can detect biological molecules — built with specially engineered DNA strands may one day advance scientists’ ability to detect a wide variety of unwanted components, including metabolites, toxins and food contaminants. Prof. John Bechhoefer of the Department of Physics at Simon Fraser University is working on a collaborative project to develop new biosensors that use biological materials to collect information — often about the presence of other biological materials — and transmit it through electrical signals. These new biosensors will be based on DNA aptamers (short DNA strands that form pockets to bind target molecules) that act like electrical switches, activated by a particular molecule’s presence. Normal switches are gaps in wires that disrupt the flow of an electrical transmission, but biosensor electrical switches are shaped like pockets. Whether or not they conduct electricity depends on the pocket’s conformation. “We’re developing DNA pockets with specific angles that will trap specific target molecules,” says Bechhoefer. “As the target binds, it will restore the electrical conductivity in the pocket, acting as a switch.” Biophysicists have previously shown that DNA conducts electricity. But unlike traditional conductors such as copper, DNA’s conductivity changes depending on what it’s bound to and what surrounds it.

AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

Maryse Bourgault

Flipping the molecular switch for food safety

Bechhoefer is using this feature to his advantage. The pockets he envisions have a particular shape and size that depend on the DNA strand’s length and composition. And they’ll conduct electricity only when a target molecule binds and flips the DNA switch. But this switch isn’t very useful if it’s just DNA in solution, he says, because such switches aren’t usually part of physiologically important electrical circuits. So he’s using the DNA as if it were a wire. By surrounding DNA with a surface of insulating molecules, he hopes to conduct electricity between two gold particles (introduced by researchers in test situations) connected by DNA. Bechhoefer anticipates certain advantages to using DNA sensors. Besides being highly sensitive and accurate, they’re economical because there’s no need for expensive cameras to observe them and no risk of molecules losing their fluorescence. They’re also desirable because there are no radioactive byproducts to worry about, as is the case with some sensors. He expects he’ll soon have DNA strands with switches that are always turned on and ones that are always turned off, giving valuable baseline information for observing DNA conductivity. Simon Fraser University researchers on this project include Prof. Dipankar Sen, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry/Chemistry; Prof. Hogan Yu and graduate student Marcus Kuikka, Department of Chemistry; and Drs. Connie Roth and Yuekan Jiao and graduate student Shun Lu, Department of Physics. Other researchers are Prof. Nicholas Low, Department of Applied Microbiology and Food Science at the University of Saskatchewan; Prof. Tito Scaiano, Department of Chemistry at the University of Ottawa; and Prof. Peter Williams and undergraduate student Stefan Murphy, Department of Physics at Acadia University. This research is sponsored by the Advanced Foods and Materials Network and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. 

Fish-ola Scientists try incorporating healthy gene into distinctly Canadian crop by Kate Roberts Most people who don’t eat fish are driven by personal choice, not availability. But that could change because availability is being threatened by the fish shortage in Canadian waters. North Atlantic stocks of cod, salmon, haddock, flounder and hake have all fallen by more than 50 per cent in the past five decades. That’s driving up prices and making it difficult for people to consume enough long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) oils. With threatened species in mind, McGill University plant scientist Dr. Don Smith and two colleagues — Drs. Peter Jones and Marc Fortin — are looking at a new way to render healthy products from one of Canada’s most widely grown crops: canola. “We’re incorporating genes for the production of long-chain PUFA into canola plants, in hopes that the plants will then produce canola oil with value-added benefits from PUFA,” says Smith. PUFA oils help in the production of certain human hormones, affecting blood pressure, lung airways (involved in asthma), blood vessels and inflammatory responses, to name a few. Smith calls himself a “plant guy,” and as such, he wanted to find a way to incorporate PUFA oils into plants that can be consumed by humans. Knowing that some plants produce high concentrations of oil from their seeds, he thought if he added the appropriate sorts of long-chain PUFA oils to the seed oils of plants, it would help alleviate some of the looming PUFA shortage. That’s where canola comes in. It has seed oil concentrations in the 40- to 50-per-cent range and is also related to the genetically wellcharacterized Arabidopsis. Arabidopsis has been

Researcher Don Smith is working to incorporate a healthy fatty acid into canola seeds. studied over the years by geneticists interested in the effects of inheritance and has now been completely sequenced, which makes canola genetics easier to understand. In 2004, Smith, Fortin and Jones began to look deeper into the process of incorporating PUFA production genes into canola. “Canada certainly has the land available for this plant,” says Smith. “It’s a high-value oilseed crop and will generate good revenues for those who produce it.” Researchers in Manitoba have already developed a plant with long-chain unsaturated oils, but Smith needed polyunsaturated oil, so he decided to use an organism that would inject PUFA genes into the plant to alter the oil’s expression, making it polyunsaturated. He found that this technique worked to change the oil profile in the plant. “The next step is to incorporate PUFA oils into canola seeds so we can obtain the valueadded oil and so the trait can be moved into other canola plants,” he says.  AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

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Materials Kate Roberts

MRIs for fries This technology lets researchers look inside food while it’s intact

Researchers refine formula for controlled diffusion

by Robert Fieldhouse

A checkup for chocolate by Robert Fieldhouse

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AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

by Alicia Roberts

Researchers are finding the optimal oil and moisture content in french fries using popular human technology.

Other researchers involved in this project from UNB’s Physics Department are Profs. Bruce Balcom and Igor Mastikhin, graduate student Kumud Deka, undergraduate students Heather Hickey and Andrew King, and research associate Bryce MacMillan. Other participants are Prof. Hermann Eberl, University of Guelph Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and Prof. Heidi Schraft, Lakehead University Department of Biology. This research is sponsored by the Advanced Foods and Materials Network, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and McCain Foods Ltd. 

Molecules can diffuse through all kinds of materials, but that diffusion is generally uncontrolled. The solution? Math. Dr. Gary Slater of the Department of Physics at the University of Ottawa is working with a team of researchers to develop a mathematical approach to the diffusion process. The ultimate goal is to design materials that can control how molecules diffuse through them. These materials would include porous media such as paper, gelatine and most permeable textiles. For example, a manufacturer might want to have a constant release rate for a drug diffusing out a gel-like pill. With a constant rate of diffusion, there’s no sudden release followed by a slow completion. Instead, there’s a steady, equal flow of the drug being passed to the patient. “For this to work, we need to understand the basics of it all first,” says Slater. “We need to be confident in what we’re trying to build, so we need to understand the fundamentals.” He and his team are looking at how proteins, DNA and smaller molecules move in complicated gel structures and porous materials, like structures with dead ends, mazes and channels. For answers, they’re turning to a true original: Albert Einstein. A century ago, Einstein theorized about the relationship between the random motion of particles in liquids (called “Brownian motion”) and the velocity those particles could achieve if drawn by a mechanical force. He discovered a formula that showed how viscosity links the velocity of the particle and its diffusion properties. Viscosity affects microscopic objects the same way friction slows down the motion of large objects sliding on a surface: it can affect

AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

Brandon Denard

AFMNet researchers at the University of New Brunswick’s MRI Centre and University of Guelph food science professor Alejandro Marangoni are using MRI in another non-medical use to study the structure of chocolate to help manufacturers lengthen its shelf life. Over time, chocolate undergoes cosmetic degradation, with a white fat crystal layer forming on the surface. MRI investigations are being conducted to gather information about how fat movement toward the surface during storage influences chocolate’s appearance, taste and texture.

Crowd-pleasing foods such as french fries could soon be made even more palatable with new technology that helps scientists understand fluid distribution and movement in foods. Prof. Benedict Newling of the University of New Brunswick’s Physics Department is leading a collaborative project that uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate food materials non-invasively. He’s particularly interested in water and oil distribution and movement in foods, which has important implications in food manufacturing, storage and preparation. Foods change as they’re prepared. Newling says MRI technology could be useful in quality-control situations for fast and accurate measurements that ensure fried coatings have the right thickness and the optimal oil and moisture content. “Manufacturers care about the final product, but they also need to understand the processes required to get there, to improve the texture and taste of their products. So we’re running an MRI lab, but instead of imaging people, we’re imaging food materials.” Watching food components move inside intact food isn’t easy. Some visualization techniques, including X-ray methods, prevent researchers from repeatedly viewing and tracking changes in food samples. But MRI is noninvasive, so the same sample can be tested again and again, allowing Newling and his team to follow changes in foods through time without causing any damage that may distort results. MRI is usually used for medical reasons to image soft materials such as human tissue. It isn’t as easy to image dry materials, including many foods, because the MRI signals are short-lived and hard to detect. But the University of New Brunswick’s MRI Centre has developed new techniques and hardware to detect these signals.

Remodelling math

the rate of diffusion and the velocity of molecules moving in a fluid. With that knowledge, the researchers tailored the formula to calculate the diffusion coefficient of any type of molecule moving in any type of porous media. With other technical details, the formula is then entered into a computer, which performs a long and multi-layered process to find the answer — the biggest and most memory-consuming part of the mathematical approach invented by AFMNet researchers. “The biggest challenge with this whole process is that it uses a lot of computer memory,” says Slater. “Ten years ago, this project couldn’t have been possible because memory was so expensive. Now we can buy and use more memory for each new problem.” A computer program is being written to help design special systems. Ultimately, it will be presented to product developers for feedback about gel structures, pill structures and drug delivery systems. “The hardest part is trying to create systems that can be used in the near future,” says Slater. “We’re building very fundamental structures that can have applications in all disciplines where molecular movements are key. What’s great about AFMNet is that we can use this application in pharmaceutical, food and biomaterial areas.” At Ottawa, he’s working with undergraduate students Owen Hickey and Pierre Sarazin, graduate students Sébastien Casault and Francis Torres, and research associate Smaine Bekhechi. Other project participants are Drs. Dérick Rousseau of Ryerson University, Allan Paulson of Dalhousie University, Wankei Wan of the University of Western Ontario and John Dutcher of the University of Guelph. 

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Materials

Neutronscattering device investigates bacteria structure in new way by Kate Roberts

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Bacterial contamination in food poses a serious health risk for Canadians. So incorporating antimicrobial compounds into food to attack unwanted bacteria — and learning more about how these compounds work — would be highly beneficial. In the past, many physicists developed models and theories of what happens when antimicrobial compounds and bacteria interact. But now, a top-of-the-line research method — small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) — is looking more deeply into the situation. Dr. Carl Adams of the Department of Physics at St. Francis Xavier University began his AFMNet research by wanting to obtain realworld measurements of bacteria structure interacting with chemicals such as calcium, magnesium and sodium. This preliminary work would then lead into similar investigations of antimicrobial compounds such as antibiotics or highly charged cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAPs). Adams says the dynamic structural models used in the past to describe the interactions were developed strictly from theoretical physics, and they have been largely consistent with the known biology and chemistry. “But SANS allows us to go a crucial extra step in observing the structure and to see how well it agrees with the models,” he says.

AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

Alexandra Smith

SANS:The battleground for unwanted bacteria

Working with University of Guelph microbiologists Dr. Terry Beveridge and Dr. Sarah Schooling, SANS experts Dr. John Katsaras and Dr. Jeremy Pencer at the National Research Council, and Dr. David Pink and senior research associate Bonnie Quinn of the Department of Physics at St. Francis Xavier, Adams had to first understand the structure of certain bacteria. Current knowledge says that the outer layer of gram-negative bacteria is composed of lipopolysaccharides (LPS), which are two-part molecules — one part hydrophobic (“water-hating”) on the inside of the layer and one part hydrophilic (“water-loving”) on the outside.

The hydrophilic segments of the LPS molecules stick out from the bacteria and interact with the environment, acting as a first line of defence against incoming chemicals. Before using the neutron-scattering beam, the team had to understand certain bacteria characteristics. For example, Beveridge and Schooling had to spend many months getting the LPS molecules out of the bacterium. Then, Adams, Katsaras and Pencer had to put the molecules into water and form sub-bacteria-sized “vesicles” — sub-microscopic-sized objects composed only of the LPS molecules. The team then placed a vial of the vesicles into the neutron beam with salts like calcium chloride and

sodium chloride, which already exist in most solutions, to get the information they wanted and to find out how these salts affect the LPS layer. Pink and Quinn are working to model the new versions of these interactions. Adams describes SANS as a “Cadillac” analysis method because it’s sensitive to small structures from 0.5 nanometres to 400 nanometres. It doesn’t damage the sample because it interacts weakly with chemical bonds (unlike Xrays), and it can measure the thickness of different layers within the sample. In addition, unlike with most electron microscopes, SANS samples don’t have to be frozen, dried or sliced up. He says this project is exciting because no one has used this method to study bacterial surfaces before. “With SANS, we can see the molecules organizing into LPS vesicles and the different layers involved, but analyzing the data is tricky. The theory had focused on the hydrophilic parts of the layer being affected, but not as much has been said about the thickness of the hydrophobic layer. A meaningful analysis of our data will force us to think about both regions.” Once Adams’ team has finished analyzing the results with simple chemicals, they will get together with antimicrobial peptide expert Bob Hancock from UBC to investigate CAPs that could be candidates for powerful antimicrobial drugs. Knowledge gained from this research, coupled with a global theory, could be used to design new potent CAPs that would specifically target bacterial defence mechanisms that are resistant to current antibiotics. This project is funded by the Advanced Foods and Materials Network. 

Bacteria such as these — and their interactions with antimicrobial compounds — are being examined by an AFMNet research team.

AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

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AFMNet is proud to be in partnership with these forward-thinking companies and organizations: 3M Canada

Lipid Nutrition North America

SUN Microsystems

Loblaw Brands Limited

Taiyo Kagaku Co., Ltd.

Lochend Luing Ranches

Université de Moncton

MaRS Landing

Université de Montréal

Canadian Food Information Council

McCain

Université de Sherbrooke

Canadian Health Food Association

McGill University

Université Laval

Canadian International Grains Institute

McLaughlin Consultants Inc.

University of Alberta

Colorado State University

McMaster University

University of British Columbia

Dalhousie University

Memorial University of Newfoundland

University of Calgary

Danone Vitapole

National Research Council Canada

University of California

Department of Energy (USA) — Advanced Light Source

Nestlé USA

University of Guelph

Networks of Centres of Excellence

University of Manitoba

Nexia Biotechnologies Inc.

University of New Brunswick

Nutri-sense Consulting

University of Ottawa

Government of Manitoba

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

University of Saskatchewan

Health Canada

Parmalat Canada

Health Canada, Natural Health Product Directorate

Parrheim Foods

A.M.Todd Company Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Bowater Canadian Forest Products Inc., Thunder Bay Operations

Environment Canada Foragen Technologies Management Inc. FQRNT

Institute of Biomathematics and Biometry, GSF National Research Centre for Environment and Health Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Ryerson Polytechnic University Ryerson University Senomyx, Inc. Simon Fraser University

Lakehead University

Specialty Biopolymers

Life Science Advisors

St. Francis Xavier University

Research, Results, Rewards: The Science and Beyond AFMNet Second Annual Scientific Conference April 30 – May 2, 2006 Westin Calgary, Calgary, Alberta

Who should attend: Anyone interested in solutions for better health and nutrition, innovative commercial materials, and more sustainable industrial processes Researchers - natural scientists, engineers, health researchers, social scientists, and lawyers

University of Toronto

Students and AFMNet HQP

University of Victoria

Regulators and policy makers

University of Waterloo University of Western Ontario

Food and biomaterials producers and manufacturers

USDA Wageningen University Yulex Inc.

Objectives To provide an opportunity for networking and information sharing across themes, disciplines and sectors To educate and train AFMNet researchers and HQP in areas such as commercialization, communication, IP management and building partnerships To promote our message of value in collaboration, partnership and research excellence to industry, regulators and other research institutions To identify specific target areas to focus key research investments to improve health, the economy and continue to be a distinct leader in advanced foods and materials research

Health professionals Health and life science business leaders Consumer advocacy groups Trade organizations

Venue

Sponsor Inquiries

The Westin | Calgary 320 Fourth Avenue SW Calgary, Alberta CANADA T2P 2S6 www.westin.com/calgary

Tania Framst, Network Manager T: 519-822-6253 Email: tframst@afmnet.ca

This publication is sponsored by:

Check the AFMNet website for updated information: www.afmnet.ca

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AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

AFMNet – ADVANCE 2005/ 06

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Advance Magazine - Winter 2005/2006  

English Only

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