Dr. Gisele LaPointe of Ontario Agriculture College will be the lead for the five-year project which will include the Ontario Veterinary College, Dr. Michael Steele from the Department of Animal Biosciences, Dr. Lawrence Goodridge from the Department of Food Science, Nicole Ricker from the Department of Pathobiology and David Kelton of the Department of Population Medicine.
The investments are $3.5 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and in-kind support valued at $2.6 million from the Ontario and national milk marketing boards, Novalait Inc., Lactalis Canada and Lallemand Inc.
Researchers will be delving into microbial ecosystems to improve quality controls from production to processing.
“Farm management practices have impacts on the types of microbes that are transmitted to milk, which in turn influence processing and the shelf life of the products,” said LaPointe, who was named the NSERC/DFO Industrial Research Chair in Dairy Microbiology in 2016 and is known internationally for her studies of how microbes interact in food systems, particularly in milk and dairy products.
The support from Dairy Farmers of Ontario continues 30 years of investment in research at Guelph and “will bring competitiveness to dairy farmers by helping monitor and detect any bacteria or disease in real time,” said Cheryl Smith, chief executive officer of the Ontario marketing board.