P.E.I. lab equipped to gauge nutraceutical value

A Charlottetown research facility will get new equipment to look more closely at the levels of nutraceutical compounds in assorted crops.

The federal government on Friday pledged $750,000 for a nuclear magentic resonance (NMR) spectrometer for use by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the University of Prince Edward Island’s laboratory in Charlottetown.

“By investing in innovation, we are discovering the potential building blocks for healthy new food products and giving farmers access to new market opportunities,” Ontario MP Pierre Lemieux, the government’s parliamentary secretary for agriculture, said in a release.

An NMR spectrometer uses radio waves and magnetic fields to identify and analyze molecules in very small samples, in this case giving scientists “a powerful new look into previously unknown plant molecules,” the government said.

This level of analysis is expected to help researchers explore the health potential of crops such as flax, soybeans, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, potatoes and rosehips.

Projects are also expected to focus on how farming practices can be adapted to improve the availability of compounds in these plants, the government said.

Research work with the new equipment will be done by scientists with AAFC, the National Research Council Institute for Nutrisciences and Health and the University of P.E.I.

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