I hope you are all doing well! I wanted to take this opportunity to first thank everyone who participated in our annual CSBE conference this summer in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The conference was very well organized and attended; thank you to Prof. Aitazaz Farooque and Prof. Travis Esau (Chair/Co-chair of the conference) for all of their fundraising and hard work.
Charlottetown 2022 - CSBE/SCGAB AGM
Canadian Society for Bioengineering 2022
Annual General Meeting and Technical Conference
Agricultural Sustainability and Food Security through Precision Agriculture Technologies
July 24-27, 2022 in Charlottetown, PEI
President Ying Chen spoke during the opening ceremony of the CSBE Conference.
The CSBE 2022 Conference met all expectations. The conference was held at Charlottetown, on the stunning Prince Edward Island, one of the most captivating locations in all of Atlantic Canada in the city of Charlottetown, the capital city of Prince Edward Island. The Province House National Historic Site hosted the Charlottetown Conference of 1864, spurring Canada’s birth. PEI’s pristine waters and beaches produce some of the planet’s finest seafood such as lobster. Participants enjoyed the easy access, excellent hotel stay, and top-notch cuisine experiences around the town.
The conference attracted more than 200 attendees from across Canada as well as multiple international travelers.
Participants and presenters are listening to some presentations.
Each day after breakfast, the conference began with an opening ceremony, during which keynote speakers Professors David J. Mulla and Arnold W. Schumann opened the technical sessions. The conference ended with a banquet and award ceremony after presenters, sponsors, and keynote speakers displayed their work. Students also had the chance to present their posters during the conference.
Students being awarded for their success in oral and poster presentations.
A technical tour was organized for the last day for the participants in order to show them some important sites on the island and the tour stops included HJV Equipment – for the guests to see some specialized agriculture equipment; Agriculture Agri-Food Canada Research Station; Wild Blueberry Processing Facility; School of Climate and Change and Adaptation - UPEI; and lastly Greenwich Prince Edward Island National Park ~ with recreation and beach visit.
Participants are investigating agricultural equipment at Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation.
Visit to Agriculture Agri-Food Canada Research Station.
Visit to St. Peter’s Bay, Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation.
Visit to Agriculture Agri-Food Canada Research Station.
Participants continued to stay in touch for weeks after the event and expressed their appreciation for such a well-run conference. We extend an invitation to all of our participants to the conferences and forthcoming activities.
Thanks to the efforts of the confrence local organizing committee: Chair and Co-Chair, Dr Aitazaz Farooque and Dr. Travis Esau, Pelin Kinay, and all organizing committee members, as well as all volunteers. Special thanks to René Morrissete, the CSBE Webmaster, for taking care all on-line components, such as call for abstract, confrenece registration, program update, etc. Without their hard work, these aformentioned amazing activites would not be possible. Lastly, not the least, thanks are given to the following sponsors who made this conference a huge success!
Dear CSBE Members,
We are currently looking for a new CSBE Society Manager. If any of you might be interested, or if you can think of someone who would be a very good society manager (and who would be willing to take on the role as soon as possible), we would be very grateful if you could let us know.
Below is a description of the responsibilities of the Society Manager. The manager receives an honorarium of $12,000 per year, and a budget to travel to the AGM every year.
Duties of the Society Manager
Jointly with the Treasurer, act as signing authority for the Society’s financial accounts. At each Annual Meeting, there will be a motion from the floor that the Treasurer and the Society Manager be the signing authorities until the next Annual Meeting.
Since 2020, CSBE has offered the opportunity for members and students to present their research in a webinar series. The work presented so far was impressive in both its quality and its diversity. It also provided participants with the opportunity to experience a new medium for the presentation of their work and develop invaluable communications skills in its use. To this end, the CSBE-SCGAB is planning a new series of webinars for the winter of 2023.
To participate in the new webinar series, abstracts must be submitted no later than October 15, 2022. Your abstract should be limited to 250 words. It should clearly identify your academic affiliations, the primary contact person and their contact information, especially their email.
Notification of acceptance will be provided by November 30, 2022 with tentative scheduling. Presentations will be scheduled during the months of January, February and March will take place on the Friday of every second week beginning at 10 am Pacific daylight savings time.
CSBE members from Manitoba have been very active this year, starting with attending the CSBE annual conference in Charlottetown, PEI, July 24 – 27, 2022. There were over 20 attendees from University of Manitoba (UofM) at the conference. At the conference, the attendees and UofM alumni got together to catch up about their career plans and paths. Although that was a short gathering, everyone had good time, as shown by the smile of people in the group photo below.
During the CSBE conference, several students participated in the conference poster and presentation competitions. Those students were financially supported by the Endowment Fund of Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences, and Travel award of Faculty of Graduate Study, UofM. Some attendees enjoyed the post-conference tour where students were exposed with various agricultural and food industries and large agricultural machines, such as the potato harvester shown below.
The fall semester has started, students came back to school for in-person classes and research activities. A welcome and information session for graduate students was organized at UofM on Sept. 6, 2022. The event was jointly organised by the Department of Biosystems Engineering and the Manitoba CSBE Chapter. The objectives were to introduce our society and recruit student members for the society. In the future, the Manitoba CSBE Chapter will continue to participate in the department activities, such as the monthly research innovation event, aiming to connect researchers with graduate students.
Fuji Jian, CSBE Manitoba Reginal Director
The Department of Biosystems Engineering has established a Sustainability-in-Action Facility (SiAF) on the west side of the Fort Garry campus that will be available to the University of Manitoba community for experiential learning and demonstration opportunities in the areas of sustainability (including northern/urban food production, renewable energy, building practices, and utilization of waste biomass fibre).
Four goals have been established to guide the development of the SiAF site: 1) To enhance sustainability content in undergraduate and graduate courses through access to experiential learning activities, 2) To enable the University of Manitoba to engage in public education and outreach in the areas of sustainability, 3) To initiate short-term demonstration projects with industry to showcase emerging sustainability technologies, and 4) To support innovative research activities in the areas of sustainability.
In 2021, the Department of Biosystems Engineering partnered with the Faculty of Architecture to sponsor a “site plan design competition” for landscape architecture students with the purpose of generating innovative ideas for development of the site. Students were invited to propose a site layout that would be used to demonstrate environmental sustainability (through vegetation and/or other materials) and social sustainability (such as Indigenous culture for example). The existing renewable energy technologies were to be featured as “places of interest” within the site. The site was to function as an outdoor classroom or learning environment dedicated completely to sustainability. We received several exceptional entries from landscape architecture students that have provided inspiration for the next stage of development of the SiAF site. One of the designs that was selected as a prize recipient developed their concept for the site (i.e., Snaring the Sun-Stainability) around the story of Sa-Klu-Nazetti of the Dene peoples. The pathway leading around the site would expose SiAF visitors to the various modern ways that are used to “snare” solar energy to support human activities. We have decided to embrace this theme and intend to prominently feature solar technologies as we complete the landscaping of the site. The site currently includes the following renewable energy systems that are based on solar energy: solar wall, solar air panels, solar glycol panels, solar tubes, and a photovoltaic system.
In addition to renewable solar energy technologies, the SiAF site features a vertical-axis wind turbine, a greenhouse constructed with a heat storage wall designed to store solar energy during the day and release it back into the greenhouse during night, a biomass boiler to provide supplemental heat during cold weather, and steel shipping containers that are being used as vegetable production chambers for remote communities.
Windows in the Strawbale Building are being replaced with innovative window technology to demonstrate energy efficiency in building construction. Plans are underway to supplement existing technologies with a rainwater harvesting system to provide irrigation water to the greenhouse using subsurface irrigation technology and an in-vessel composting system to provide composting of campus-generated organic waste. Funds have been requested to purchase a fully electric utility tractor to demonstrate the use of zero-emission machines on campus. Development of the site is on-going.
Although we do not currently feature any technologies for plastic recycling, this is an area of interest for Dr. Ackerman that aligns with SiAF. In the spring of 2022, Dr. Ackerman visited several European countries to gain first-hand knowledge of technologies being used to recycle plastic (and other materials). Joe has written four short pieces describing what he saw and learned on his European tour; these have been included to inspire us to do more with the waste that we produce in Canada.
Welcome to the new academic year! As many of us returning to our workplace, it’s time to reflect on our achievements during last few months and know more about the extraordinary work of our colleagues. The following are details of some of the key projects undertaken by various research groups in Ontario.
Wishing you all good luck!
Dr. Pradeep Kumar Goel
Ontario Regional Director
Dr. Prasad Daggupati is the recipient of the 2022 Young Engineer Award from the Northeast Agricultural and Biological Engineering Conference (NABEC) during the annual meeting in Edgewood, Maryland which was held between July 31-August 3, 2022. Dr. Daggupati also received the 2021 young engineer of the year award from the Canadian Society for Bioengineering during the CSBE/SCGAB annual meeting in Charlottetown, PEI which was held between July 24-27, 2022.
Project # 1: A model for predicting how the frost-free days are increasing
Researchers at the University of Guelph’s Water Resources Engineering group developed a unique approach to predict the number of frost-free days (FFDs), i.e., winter days when minimum daily temperature is above 0°C. The approach, which is simple yet powerful, estimates number of FFDs by using the rate of increase in observed winter daily minimum temperatures due to climate change.
The data used in this model was collected between 1940 and 2009 from 11 weather stations across Central Canada. The study highlights an overall average temperature increase of about 2°C over 100 years, and an average increase of 12 FFDs in the same time period, for the investigated stations. FFDs each winter were observed to rise exponentially even with linear increases in mean winter daily minimum temperature values. The rate of increase in FFDs varied considerably (0.6 to 36 days per 100 years) among the selected stations, with stations situated at southern latitudes exhibiting relatively greater increases in FFDs, as compared to stations situated in northern areas. The study's main takeaway is that even with a small rise in average daily minimum temperature values in the winter owing to climate change, the number of frost-free days increases significantly, which is alarming. This will have a huge impact on Canada’s agricultural sector as well as winter hydrology.
The approach used to develop this model can be used to estimate the number of days above or below a user-defined threshold temperature (a temperature-dependent variable) in the future, under changing climatic conditions, and thus has huge potential to be used as a decision support tool by various industries (agriculture, energy, urban planning, cities, and regional governments).
Publication Details: Ramesh P. Rudra, Trevor Dickinson, Jaskaran Dhiman, Shaukat Manzoor, Pradeep Goel, Rituraj Shukla. 2022. A model for predicting how the frost-free days are increasing. Journal of the ASABE (In Press).
Project #2: Measuring soil organic matter and soil moisture content from digital camera images-comparison of regression and machine learning approaches
The overall ecosystem's health is maintained and enhanced through proper soil management. The adequate characterisation of soil parameters, such as soil organic matter (SOM) and soil moisture content (SMC), is necessary for effective management of the soil. In the study, SOM and SMC were predicted using digital camera images. Compared to conventional approaches, image-based soil characterisation has demonstrated significant potential. SMC and SOM are known to affect soil colour. Higher light absorption is the cause of the darker appearance associated with higher moisture content. However, with time, increased anaerobic conditions and the state of iron oxides in the soil can have an impact on soil colour (Jackson 2008).
Developing a cell phone app that can be used by anyone with a smartphone to estimate key critical soil parameters such as SOM and SMC offer the potential for more affordable, quick, and easy-to-use soil analysis, helpful for supporting management decisions.
In the study, the processed soil samples were evenly placed in Petri dishes (∼8mm thickness) and the surface of the samples were captured with a 12.1-megapixel digital camera (Canon PowerShot SX270 HS) mounted on a tripod (27 cm) with the lens facing downward toward the sample. In this study, 22 supervised regression and machine learning algorithms were calibrated and validated in order to assess how well soil photographs taken with a digital camera could predict SOM and SMC. These models created correlations between numerous color- and texture-related variables extracted from photos, SOM and SMC (measured in the lab).
Color parameters demonstrated high correlation with both SOM and SMC. Overall, SMC was predicted more accurately than SOM, indicating that SMC has a significant influence on the soil's hue. For the validation dataset using 6 predictor factors, the results showed a reasonable agreement between the image parameters and the laboratory measured SOM and SMC. For this investigation, the non-linear interactions between SOM, SMC, and image properties were best captured and explained by GPRs and tree models (Cubist, RF, and Boosted Trees). The soil colour is also influenced by temperature, climate, and mineral content. The image parameter based, and corresponding laboratory results revealed that that SOM and SMC can be predicted with more than 75% accuracy. The study also revealed that model built using the key image parameters is more rapid and can produce result as good as built using all the parameters. This methodology's advantage over the conventional approach would be quick assessment of soil parameters at a significantly lower cost and environmentally safe. Taken together, digital image-based soil characterization offers a chance to be applied to proximal soil sensing.
Publication Details: Perry Taneja, Hiteshkumar Bhogilal Vasava, Solmaz Fathololoumi, Prasad Daggupati, and Asim Biswas. 2022. Predicting soil organic matter and soil moisture content from digital camera images: comparison of regression and machine learning approaches. CJSS: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjss-2021-0133
News from Quebec
Le Journal de la SCGAB a récemment accepté de publier un article sur l’histoire du drainage souterrain du Québec, de 1850 à 1970, écrit par Suzelle Barrington, ing., agr., Ph.D., FCSBE (entre autres fellowships) et commandité par Consumaj Inc., Génie Conseil de St-Hyacinthe, Qc. L’article relate des faits intéressants : en 1902, le Québec fut la première province Canadienne à acquérir une draineuse mécanisée de marque Buckeye avec engin à vapeur. En 1913, le Québec fut aussi probablement premier en Amérique du Nord à produire un guide complet sur le drainage souterrain: les recommandations de ce guide sont très similaires aux recommandations des plus modernes en dépits à l’époque de méconnaissance de théories scientifiques. Saviez-vous qu’un des premiers systèmes de drainage souterrain avec drains d’argile installés à la main, se réalisait dans la région de St Augustin juste à l’extérieur de la Ville de Québec vers 1870? Le Ministère de l’Agriculture du Québec achetait 2 excavatrices de marques Buckeye avec engin à gasoline (1 cylindre horizontal) pour drainage souterrain en 1912, pour 4 700$ livrés à St-Césaire: les rapports des ministères provincial et fédéral de l’agriculture (les draineuses étaient financés par le ministère fédéral) listent le nom des fermes qui ont été drainées de 1912 à 1917. Une de ces draineuses de 1912 est fort probablement stationnée près d’un garage de NMP Golf inc. visible de l’autoroute 20, à Ste-Madeleine Québec.
The history of subsurface drainage in Quebec from 1850 to 1970
The CSBE Journal has recently approved an article on the history of subsurface drainage in Quebec from 1850 to 1970, written by Suzelle Barrington, ing., agr., Ph.D., FCSBE (among other fellowships) and sponsored by Consumaj Inc., Consulting Engineers of St-Hyacinthe, Qc. This article presents some interesting facts about Quebec being the first Canadian province in 1902 to purchase a mechanized trencher, model Buckeye trencher with a steam engine. In 1913, Quebec was most likely the first also to produce a comprehensive guide on subsurface drainage for North America: the recommendations are surprisingly similar to those of our newest guides despite the absence of scientific theory. Furthermore, some of the very first clay tile drainage systems were installed manually in the St Augustin region west of Quebec City, around 1870. The Quebec Ministry of Agriculture purchased 2 mechanized Buckeye trenchers in 1912 (1 horizontal gasoline cylinder motor) for the sum of $4 700 delivered in St-Césaire: reports from the provincial and federal ministries of agriculture list the name of farms drained using these machines from 1912 to 1917. One of these first 1912 trenchers is likely parked along one of the garages of NMP Golf inc. along highway 20, in Ste-Madeleine Quebec.
In 2020, the History and Archive Committee of the EIC initiated a project to capture the achievements of Canadian engineers, and especially those of later age. The project involved conducting oral history interviews of senior engineers to produce a captioned video and written transcript to be archived both on the EIC website and on the library web site of the Ontario Technical University. Eight constituent members of EIC including CSBE contributed financially to the project: their contributions were matched from a MITACS grant obtained through Western University. Representatives of these member societies served on a Project Steering Committee that recommended suitable individuals to be interviewed. The project has interviewed some 15 engineers in 2021 and 34 engineers in 2022. Three (3) CSBE members were interviewed, with several others proposed who have not completed their consent form.
The plan is to use these interviews to not only preserve historical achievements in Canadian engineering but also to promote engineering to students and the public. Because each interview lasts between 30 and 90 minutes, snippets are being prepared to highlight shorter segments thata are likely to be of public interest.
The EIC History and Archive committee is considering different channels to promote these interviews and will likely continue the project for a 3rd year in 2023.
Suzelle Barrington, ing., agr. And Michael Bartlett, P. Eng.
EIC History and Archive Committee
Projet d’enregistrement oral des réalisations de nos ingénieurs canadiens, projet de l’Institut canadien du Génie (ICG)
En 2021, le comité d’Histoire et d’archives de l’ICG amorçait un projet visant à documenter les réalisations de nos ingénieurs canadiens séniors. Le projet consiste à interviewer des ingénieurs par vidéo conférence pour enregistrer leurs réalisations sous forme de vidéo et de document papier : ces enregistrements seront conservés sur le site web de l’ICG et de la bibliothèque de l’Université technique d’Ontario (Ontario Technical University). Huit membres constitutifs de l’ICG ont participé financièrement : leur contribution financière fut doublée par une subvention MITACS grâce à l’université Western. Chaque membre ICG nommait un représentant qui participe aux réunions visant à gérer le projet et à nommer des candidats propices à interviewer. Le projet a permis d’interviewer 15 ingénieurs/es en 2021 et 34 ingénieurs/es en 2022. Pour le SCGAB, 3 membres furent interviewés, plusieurs autres noms ont été proposés en attente de leur consentement.
L’ICG utilisera ces interviews non seulement pour conserver les réalisations des ingénieurs canadiens, mais aussi pour promouvoir la profession auprès des jeunes et du grand public. Parce que les interviews durent de 30 à 90 minutes, des aperçus de quelques minutes seront préparés pour souligner les aspects intéressants et attirer l’intérêt du grand public.
Le comité d’Histoire et d’Archive de l’ICG projette poursuivre le projet au cours de l’année 2023.
Suzelle Barrington, ing., agr. et Michael Bartlett, P. Eng.
Le comité d’Histoire et d’Archive de l’ICG