Dr. Jason Carere

Image Jason Carere
Research Scientist

Leading a team investigating natural toxins in food as part of the Food Research Division 

Current research and/or projects

Our group is focused on investigating natural toxins in foods. Certain plants, pathogens of plants and marine microorganisms, can produce these toxins.  We are developing techniques to detect and quantify these toxins in foods. We are also beginning to produce rare or commercially unavailable toxins for downstream investigation.

Research and/or project statements

Cyanogenic glycosides in food – Developing novel mass spectrometry and enzymes based methods

Detecting masked toxins in food – Examining food for toxins that have been modified

Emerging fungal toxins in Canada – Develop capabilities to detect future threats

Professional activities / interests

I have always been interested in how plant-pathogen interactions drive the production of a diverse array of secondary metabolites and the corresponding response. The arms race between the host and pathogen leads to the production of metabolites (toxins and plant defence compounds) as well as countermeasures such as enzymes to degrade/modify these compounds. It is due to this relationship we see the variety of mycotoxins, their modified forms and more recently, enzyme capable of transforming these compounds to less toxic molecules.

Students interested in positions in the lab should contact me via email.

Education and awards


2016 - 2018     Postdoctoral Fellow, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph, ON, Canada
2013 - 2016     Postdoctoral Fellow, CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Brisbane, Queensland. Australia
2008 - 2013     PhD in Biochemistry, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada
2004 - 2008     H.BMSc, Specialization in Biochemistry, Western University, London, ON, Canada



2021 - Food Directorate Young Professional Award
2013 - D.F. Forster Medal            
2013 - College of Biological Science Graduate Gold Medal                           
2012 - Ontario Graduate Scholarship                                          
2012 - The Protein Society Student Poster Award                               
2012 - Protein Science Young Investigator Travel Grant Finn Wold Travel Award               
2012 - Dr. Donald Robert Phillips Molecular Biology and Genetics Scholarship                 
2012 - NSERC GGSF Travel Grant                                       
2010, 2011, 2012 - Graduate Student Association Travel Grant                           
2012 - Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarships in Science and Technology                   
2010, 2011 - Ontario Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology    

International experience and/or work

Worked as postdoctoral fellow at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia.

Key publications

Zhong, L., Carere, J., Mats, L., Lu, Z., Lu, F., and Zhou, T. (2020) Formation of glutathione patulin conjugates associated with yeast fermentation contributes to patulin reduction. Food Control. 123, 107334

Carere, J., Hassan, Y.I., Lepp, D., and Zhou, T. (2018) The identification of DepB: an enzyme responsible for the final detoxification step in the deoxynivalenol epimerization pathway in Devosia mutans 17-2-E-8. Frontiers in Microbiology. 9: 1573

Carere, J., Hassan, Y.I., Lepp, D., and Zhou, T. (2018) The enzymatic detoxification of the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON): identification of DepA from the DON epimerization pathway. Microbial Biotechnology. 11: 1106–1111

Zhong, L., Carere, J., Lu, Z., Lu, F., and Zhou, T. (2018) Patulin in Apples and Apple-Based Food Products: The Burdens and the Mitigation Strategies. Toxins 10: 11

Carere, J., Powell, J., Fitzgerald, T.L., Kazan K., and Gardiner, D.M. (2018) BdACT2a encode an agmatine coumaroyl transferase required for pathogen defence in Brachypodium distachyon. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology. 104: 69-76

Sørensen, J.L., Benfield, A.H., Wollenberg, R.D., Westphal, K., Wimmer, R., Nielsen, M.R., Nielsen, K.F., Carere, J., Covarelli, L., Beccari, G., Powell, J., Yamashino, T., Kogler, H., Sondergaard, T.E., and Gardiner, D.M. (2018) The cereal pathogen Fusarium pseudograminearum produces a new class of active cytokinins during infection. Molecular Plant Pathology. 19: 1140-1154

Carere, J., Benfield, A.H., Ollivier, M., Liu, C.J., Kazan, K., and Gardiner, D.M. (2017) A tomatinase-like enzyme acts as a virulence factor in the wheat pathogen Fusarium graminearum. Fungal Genetics and Biology. 100: 33-41

Carere, J., Colgrave, M., Stiller, J., Lui, C., Manners, J.M., Kazan K., and Gardiner, D.M. (2016) Enzyme driven metabolomic screening: a novel method for discovery of plant defence compounds targeted by pathogens. New Phytologist. 212: 770–779

Kettle, A.J, Carere, J., Batley, J., Benfield, A.H., Manners, J.M., Kazan, K., and Gardiner, D.M. (2015) A γ-lactamase from cereal infecting Fusarium spp. catalyses the first step in the degradation of the benzoxazolinone class of phytoalexins. Fungal Genetics and Biology 83: 1

Research facility

251 Sir Frederick Banting Driveway
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9