Crop research programs

Wheat and Durum

Bread and Durum Wheat Research

Wheat dough in the Brabender extensograph.

Wheat dough is evaluated for visco-elastic properties using the Brabender extensograph.

Our overall goal is to support the Canadian wheat quality assurance system.

We conduct quality analyses of composite samples created from samples submitted via the Harvest Sample Program. These analyses provide information on the new crop quality characteristics of the major Canadian wheat classes.

We monitor the quality of wheat cargoes at export and investigate cargo complaints.

Our program also evaluates the quality of new wheat lines before they are registered, and identifies which new varieties are eligible for the Canadian Grain Commission’s variety designation lists.

Our research determines the effects of grading factors (example, mildew) on wheat quality. As well, we identify and characterize biochemical components that are responsible for wheat quality. The other research priority is to develop new methods or modify existing ones to measure end-use quality more effectively and efficiently.

Our relevance to the grain sector

Many participants in the grain industry, from breeders developing new lines to customers of Canadian grain, use information we generate through our quality assurance and research activities. For example, wheat exporters use quality data generated by the Harvest Sample Program to market Canadian wheat. Buyers use quality data to determine how Canadian wheat will perform in their facilities.

Our quality evaluation of new varieties of wheat provides a link between marketplace quality requirements and the plant breeder. Changing market demands are satisfied by new wheat varieties that have the required end-use quality characteristics.

Cargo quality monitoring allows us to verify that the exporter delivers based on customer requirements, and the quality assurance system and grade standards meet industry expectations.

For each type of visual damage assessed by grading, we determine the degree and intensity of harmful effects on end-processing quality, providing a scientific basis for tolerances for each grading factor.

We develop new and improved analytical and technical tools that are faster, more accurate, less costly, or more specific and that will quantify the functionality of wheat based on its physicochemical properties. Research on the biochemical basis of quality often leads to the development of new methods to measure quality more specifically and provides new screening tools for wheat breeders in developing new varieties with improved quality.

Program manager

Dr. Bin Xiao Fu

Find out about Bin Xiao Fu’s expertise, affiliations and contact information.

Milling and Malting

Milling and Malting / Research on Barley and Other Grains

A display of various products prepared from food barley at the GRL

Pearled barley, steel-cut barley groats, instant flakes, old-fashion whole flakes, and fibre-rich/ ß-glucan-rich fractions (grits).

We identify, characterize, and quantify components and molecular mechanisms responsible for the quality, functionality and performance of Canadian barley and other grains, such as oats and buckwheat. Our research activities involve assessing genetic, agronomic, and environmental factors that affect the quality and performance of barley during malting and brewing processes. We also quantify and characterize bioactive components in barley and other grains such as beta-glucans, dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals. As well, we develop technological processes that will allow manufacturers to use barley and other grains in new and different ways.

We evaluate instrumental techniques and develop methods and protocols for measuring and predicting the quality and value of barley. We support the Grain Quality Assurance program by monitoring the quality of barley destined for export, evaluating the quality of advanced breeders’ lines and assessing the quality of malting barley produced in western Canada.

Our relevance to the grain sector

The knowledge and data generated by our activities helps us provide the expected scientific evidence and information to the agri-food sector. Our research helps develop effective and innovative strategies for improving the properties of Canadian barley and other grains that affect products made out of them. Our research also helps develop effective and innovative strategies for improving the processing performance of barley and other grains.

Every year we provide detailed information about the quality of malting barley to marketers, end users, and customers of Canadian barley. Our annual harvest survey report provides detailed information on the quality of malting barley associated with each variety and growing region for the newly selected barley crop.

Our assessment of the quality and processing properties of advanced barley breeding lines support the development of improved malting and food barley varieties.

We provide quality information to marketers and customers of Canadian wheat and to Canadian wheat breeders. This is based on our evaluation of the milling performance of wheat samples from cargo shipments and the current harvest. As well, we appraise the milling performance of advanced wheat breeding lines.

Program manager

Dr. Marta S. Izydorczyk

Find out about Marta Izydorczyk’s expertise, affiliations and contact information.


Pulse Research

Yellow peas (cooked, dried, and soaking in water)

Soaking dried yellow field peas makes them cook more quickly and evenly. Cooking time and the texture of cooked peas are quality measures.

We investigate factors that contribute to the overall quality of pulses and study the end-use functionality of pulses, that is, how the physical and chemical components of pulses affect the final product made from pulses. We also study the role of grading, environmental and genetic factors in determining pulse quality and end-use functionality.

We research methods for measuring and assessing pulse end-use quality and functionality. As well, our program conducts the annual pulse and foodtype soybean quality survey in support of the annual Harvest Sample Program. Data from this survey is used to generate a harvest quality report of Canadian grain in support of the marketability of Canadian crops.

Our relevance to the grain sector

We provide scientific support to the Canadian Grain Commission’s development of grading standards for pulses. Our research provides the pulse industry with information on pulse quality and end-use functionality. Furthermore, research on methods for new grading factors provides the pulse industry with consistent, objective measurements for pulse quality.

Each year, we conduct an annual quality survey which provides data on the intrinsic and end-use quality of Canadian pulses and food-type soybeans. We use the data to monitor and support the quality assurance system. As well, the data is used by marketers to promote Canadian pulses and by customers of Canadian pulses to understand end-use quality.

We also participate in cargo quality monitoring to ensure that the export shipments meet the quality requirements.

Program manager

Dr. Ning Wang

Find out about Ning Wang’s expertise, affiliations and contact information.



Placing vial in Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)

Analysis of cyanogenic glycosides using Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS).

We conduct research on factors that contribute to the quality of products made from Canadian oilseeds (canola, rapeseed, flax, soybean and mustard) and into seed factors – such as free fatty acids and chlorophyll derivatives - that could affect quality of these products. Our research includes understanding the effects of variety and environment on the composition and quality of oilseed crops. As well, we develop new and improved methods to analyze minor and major components

Our relevance to the grain sector

We conduct quality monitoring programs using samples from the Harvest Sample Program and samples taken at export. We analyze factors such as oil, protein, glucosinolate, fatty acid composition, free fatty acid and chlorophyll to give domestic and export customers of Canadian oilseeds an indication of each year’s crop quality.

As part of Canada’s quality assurance system, cargo monitoring assesses the quality of exported Canadian oilseeds. Cargo monitoring allows export customers to determine if export shipments meet their specific requirements for their endproducts.

Because Canadian crops are segregated and sold by grade, it is important to determine grading factors using an unbiased, scientific approach. The Canadian Grain Commission does this by developing methods and projects to understand the inherent quality of grains and the products made from grain. We have been involved in the development of internationally recognized methods (e.g. methods recognized by ISO, American Association for Clinical Chemistry, American Oil Chemists Society) for assessing oilseed quality. These methods provide unbiased oilseed analyses for use by the industry.

Spring-harvested flaxseed and canola research

We’re conducting research on the effects of late harvest on canola and flaxseed quality and is seeking samples of canola and flaxseed that was seeded in spring 2019, but not harvested until spring 2020. Learn how to participate in this study.

Program manager

Dr. Véronique Barthet

Find out about Véronique J. Barthet’s expertise, affiliations and contact information.

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