Bourlaye Fofana, Ph.D.

Image Bourlaye Fofana
Research Scientist

Plant Molecular Physiology and Genomics

Current research and/or projects

Current Projects

1. 2019-2023  J-002269 – Evaluate effects of  manure application in combination  with cover on  plant endophytes using metagenomics, PEI Living Labs project - Using living laboratory approach to develop and transfer innovative soil and water quality BMPs in Prince Edward Island, $102,700

2. 2019- 2022  J-002235 – Quality attributes in small fruit crops - Improvement of quality attributes in strawberry, raspberry and blackberry using metabolomic and genomic approaches, $40,000

3. 2019-2023  J-002214 – Lupuloides hops development - Evaluating phytochemical and agronomic traits of native hops (Humulus lupulus ssp lupuloides) for Eastern Canadian production systems, $33,360

4. 2018-2021    J-001776 – Cover Crops, Disease & Soil Biodiversity - Impact of cover cropping on soil microbial biodiversity, disease and pathogen load. Adam Forster (Lead), $100,000

5. 2018-2023  J-002035 – ASC-05 Diverse FC Cluster Activity 4A - ASC-05 Diverse FC Cluster Activity 4A: Genomics and molecular markers to identify resistance genes in flax, $80,000

Recently completed  projects 

6. 2015-2019  J-000991 – Integrated research-development-technology-transfer approach to enhance productivity and sustainability of potato production in Canada, $340,000

7. 2015-2018  J-001005 –Developing eastern hop (Humulus lupulus var. lupuloides) germplasm resources for improved quality traits and disease resistance, $36,000

8. 2013-2017  J-000916 – Understanding the bio-insecticidal properties of buckwheat for wireworm control and the benefits associated with growing it as a rotation crop/Understanding the microbial diversity in the buckwheat rhizosphere when compared to other rotation crops and to understand the potential interactions between the plant, the soil microbiomes and wireworm.. $ 121,300

9. 2013-2016.  J-000076 – Development of a proof-of-concept for the generation and use of mutagenized dihaploid potato lines for accelerated breeding of potato cultivars low in glycoalkaloid content and acrylamide in processed product, $121,000

10 2009-2014 – Flax Total Utilization Flax GENomics (TUFGEN) project/. Flax lignan biosynthesis, bioavailability and bioactivity, $308,750.

11. 2009-2011 – Rosehip – Innovative Canadian bioActives and Nutraceuticals  (ICAN)-rosehip project”/Rosehip genomic and germplasm characterization aspects, $316,569; Dr. Fofana : $194,269 (RBPI #1636).


Research and/or project statements

Dr. Fofana’s research program is focused on the development and characterization of pre-breeding germplasm, development of bioprocesses and genomic resources from plant and microbial bioresources for high-quality oilseed and horticultural crops, and valued bioproducts for breeders, biologists, food and non-food, and health and wellness industry. He uses molecular physiology, genomics and metagenomics as tools to achieve his objectives including:

  • Crop remodeling

  • Metabolite re-engineering

  • Seed quality

  • Biofuels feedstock engineering

  • Pre-postharvest quality

  • Germplasm development

Professional activities / interests

Editorial Functions

  • Technical Editor, Horticulture section, Canadian Journal of Plant Science  2019-present

  • Associate Editor, Botany  2018-present

  • Associate Editor, Canadian Journal of Plant Science  2016-present

  • Invited reviewer for many journals

Education and awards


2006   Certification in Higher Education Teaching (CHET)- University of Manitoba, Winnipeg

1999    Ph.D. Plant Molecular Biology and Genetics -Gembloux Agricultural University, Belgium

1995    M.Sc. Plant Molecular Biology and Genetics -Gembloux Agricultural University,Belgium

1993    AEA Plant Breeding - National University of Ivory Coast, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

1992    Msc Genetics – National - University of Ivory Coast, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

1991,   Bsc Biology and Natural Science - University of Ivory Coast, Abidjan, Ivory Coast



Research Fellowship, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Canada, 2002-2005

Research Award, Belgian State Secretary for Cooperation Development Price, 1998

Travel Scholarship, Belgian National Funds for Scientific Research, 1998

Graduate Foreign Scholarship, Ivorian Government, Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research, 1993 – 1999.

International experience and/or work

Advisor, Volunteer  - CESO-SACO: work assignements to Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, 2017, 2018.

Key publications

  1. Mutational genetics in the CRISPR era: where do we stand at AAFC?

    2022 - View publication details

  2. The Search for Powdery Mildew Resistance Genes in Flax

    2021 - View publication details

  3. Gene expression study of the flax-powdery mildew interaction

    2021 - View publication details

  4. The Search for Powdery Mildew Resistance Genes in Flax

    2020 - View publication details

  5. Till BJ, Aravena Abarzua GA, Howard-Till R, Qian R, Gajardo H, Cloutier S, Fofana B, Soto-Cerda BJ (2020) Genomic improvement of flax using natural variation and induced mutations. Proc 28th Plant and Animal Genome Conference, San Diego, USA, Jan 11-15, W436

    2020 - View publication details

  6. Cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is the third most consumed food crop after rice and wheat. Potato is an auto tetraploid crop species having a highly heterozygous genetic base and a complex genome making its genetic studies tedious. Recently, diploid potato breeding has regained interest in the potato genetics community. Genetically, diploid potatoes are easy to work with and can be used in the cultivated potato breeding process as genetic resources and also they can be grown on their own as varieties. However, diploid breeding continuum faces many challenges including anti-nutritional factors and self-incompatibilities. Whereas conventional breeding strategies contributed to the releasing of varieties with low SGA, substantial resources are still required to minimizing these anti-nutritional factors. Recently, we developed and characterized an ethyl methane sulfonate mutagenized pre-breeding diploid potato population for identifying lines with low anti-nutritional factors. The data will be presented and discussed in relation to the high potential for diploid potatoes as a complement to tetraploid potatoes and in pre-and post-harvest management contexts.

    2019 - View publication details


    2019 - View publication details

  8. Somalraju, A., Ghose, K., Main, D., Bizimungu, B., Fofana, B. (2019). Development of pre-breeding diploid potato germplasm displaying wide phenotypic variations as induced by ethyl methane sulfonate mutagenesis. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, [online] 99(2), 138-151.

    2019 - View publication details


    2018 - View publication details

  10. Potatoes: From seed to seed – can we change the approach?

    2018 - View publication details


    2018 - View publication details


    2018 - View publication details

  13. RNA transcriptome DGE deciphering between resistant and susceptible potato cultivars to common scab

    2018 - View publication details

  14. Fofana, B., Ghose, K., Somalraju, A., McCallum, J., Main, D., Deyholos, M.K., Rowland, G.G., Cloutier, S. (2017). Induced mutagenesis in UGT74S1 gene leads to stable new flax lines with altered secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) profiles. Frontiers in Plant Science, [online] 8

    2017 - View publication details

  15. Fofana, B., Ghose, K., McCallum, J., You, F.M., Cloutier, S. (2017). UGT74S1 is the key player in controlling secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) formation in flax. BMC Plant Biology, [online] 17(1),

    2017 - View publication details

  16. Cloutier S, Ghose K, Somalraju A, McCallum J, Fofana B (2017) Further evidence that mutations in UGT74S1 alter SDG lignan glucoside profiles in EMS flax mutant lines. Proc 25th Plant and Animal Genome meeting, San Diego, CA, 14-18 Jan, P232

    2017 - View publication details

  17. Fofana, B., Ghose, K., McCallum, J.L., Somalraju, A., Cloutier, S., Deyholos, M.K., and Rowland, G.G. (2016). "Developing EMS flax mutant lines with altered SDG lignan glucosides.", PAGXXIV 2016, San Diego, USA, January 9-13, 2016.

    2016 - View publication details

  18. Fofana, B., Ghose, K., McCallum, J.L., Somalraju, A., Cloutier, S., Deyholos, M.K., and Rowland, G.G. (2016). "Developing EMS flax mutant lines with altered SDG lignan glucosides.", PAGXXIV, San Diego, USA, January 9-13, 2015. (Poster)

    2016 - View publication details

  19. Bizimungu, B., B Fofana, D. Main, J. McCallum, L. Kawchuk, and H. Tai. (2016) Development and characterization of diploid potato lines with agronomic and processing traits. “Breeding”, 100th Annual Meeting of The Potato Association of America, July 31- August 4, 2016, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. (Presentation)

    2016 - View publication details

  20. Alkhnajari, A., Somalraju, A., Ghose, K., Samis, K., and Fofana, B. (2015). "Microbial diversity of buckwheat rhizosphere in wireworm-infested and non-infested soils using metagenomics.", UPEI Multidisciplinary Graduate Research Conference, UPEI, MacDougall Hall, August 6-8, 2015. (Poster)

    2015 - View publication details

Research facility

440 University Avenue
Charlottetown, PE C1A 4N6


  • Adjunct professor, Biology Department, UPEI, 2008 – present

  • Adjunct professor, Adjunct Professor, Department of Plant, Food, and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture Dalhousie University, April 2020 - Present

  • Member of the Canadian Society of plant Physiologists, October 2006-present

  • Member of the PEI Institute of Agrologists, April 2008-present

  • Member/Secretary of the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science, April 2016 - present