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Post-harvest center fostering cutting-edge ag analysis

Posted on May 23, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Heather Cameron

There was a free industry event, Research in RINSA: Opportunities for Value Addition in Agri-food Industries, hosted recently by Lethbridge College in partnership with the Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta (RINSA). At that event, Dr. Chandra Singh, Senior Research Chair for Agricultural Engineering at the Advanced Post Harvest Technology Center at Lethbridge College, spoke about the Post Harvest Technology Center at Lethbridge College.

The Post Harvest Technology Center at Lethbridge College, Singh says, focuses on storage, handling, and processing of all crops, seeds, oilseed, potatoes, and sugar beets. The program, Singh said, has received $6 million in contracts in the past four years, which includes a $2.4 million CFI grant, which helped with the center at the college. The center, Singh said, partners with trade companies, processing companies, and other organizations including academic institutions and ecosystem research teams that include five to seven post-docs who are studying engineer, food technology, food processing, food science, biochemistry, mechatronics and AI.

The centre, Singh said, has onsite storage with a high temperature track, so they can monitor moisture, contact temperature, CO2, the local weather station, fully automated cloud base monitoring and elevation and fan control. Apart from the storage, Singh said, the centre has two working board rooms that they store collected samples from across farms. There is also a food quality testing lab in the centre, Singh said, and that includes a polyprotein analyzer, texture analyzer, fat extraction, no meter fluid tester, falling number tester, and freeze drive that are all used for project testing. The centre, Singh said, also has advanced food, electrical labs, a hyper engine system, a bio safety lab that’s about to be commissioned, an advanced imaging lab, and a grain testing lab where grain can be tested according to commission standards.

“We use different systems for quality evolution of different agri-products,” said Chandra.

The project collaborators, Singh said, include Potato Growers of Alberta, Lantic Rogers, Alberta Sugar Beet Growers, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Tuberosum Technologies, Old Dutch, Lamb Weston, AGI, University of Lethbridge, and Edmonton Potato Growers. The funders of the project, Singh said, include Alberta Innovates, Alberta Wheat Commission, Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR), NSERC CRSING,, OPI, Little Potato Company, Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Government of Alberta, Protein Industries Canada, and the SaskWheat Development Commission.

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