Research Strength in Numbers

Sugarcane_sComplex problems require complex solutions. That’s why the Green Crop Network brings together a variety of research expertise from McGill and 13 other Canadian universities. “We’re trying to make plants that can either be used to make biofuels or can be used to sequester carbon out of the atmosphere—and we want to manage the production regime so we’re producing less nitrous oxide and keeping more carbon in the soil,” says Don Smith, McGill plant science researcher and GCN scientific director. “To tackle that kind of big picture, we need to bring together a lot of specific skill sets to complement McGill’s strengths in soils and plant-microbe interactions.” To fill in the rest of the puzzle, Smith scoured the country for experts in areas including:

Enzyme and bacteria conversion of nitrous oxide: Illimar Altosaar (University of Ottawa), Jim Germida (University of Saskatchewan)

Nitrous oxide emissions from soil: David Burton (Nova Scotia Agricultural College), Gary Kachanoski (University of Alberta)

Oil production from seeds: Peter McVetty and Muhammed Tahir (University of Manitoba), Robert Bradley (Université de Sherbrooke)

Photosynthesis: William Plaxton (Queen’s University), Fathey Sarhan (Université du Québec à Montréal), Greg Vanlerberghe (University of Toronto), Norman P.A. Hüner (University of Western Ontario)

Plant-microbe interactions: Kevin Vessey (Saint Mary’s University)

Plant-molecular genetics: Brian Ellis and Ljerka Kunst (University of British Columbia), Bernard Grodzinski, Barry Micallef and Steven Rothstein (University of Guelph)