Rong Cao, Ph.D.

Image Rong Cao
Research Scientist

Food Bioactives Chemistry and Biochemistry

Current research and/or projects

Dr. Cao leads multi-disciplinary teams to conduct national and international research to support AAFC’s mandate and priorities.  His research focuses on two AAFC Strategic Objectives: “Improve attributes for food and non-food uses” and “Addressing threats to the agriculture and agri-food value chain”, in the Focus Areas of (1) Cereals & Pulses; (2) Agri-Food, (3) Bioproducts, and (4) Horticulture as set in AAFC’s Agri-Food Sector - Science Strategy.  Dr. Cao is an internationally highly recognized authority in food bioactives and attributes, especially in those with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.  He contributes by developing novel methods for the identification of food bioactives and their important functional properties in all aforementioned four areas, by taking new approaches to assess bioaccessibility, bioavailability, metabolomics and molecular mechanisms of action, and by providing information essential to crop breeding and processing programs, health claims substantiation and to forage crops.  Dr. Cao also addresses the above threats by developing new methods for the detection and identification of regulated and emerging mycotoxins, by using natural antimicrobials, and optimizing food processing conditions to mitigate mycotoxin contamination.

Research and/or project statements

  • A systematic approach to characterization of free; conjugated and bound forms of food bioactives and their antioxidant/anti-inflammatory activities in pulses using cell models and in vitro gastrointestinal and gut digestions
  • Integrated research-development-technology-transfer approach to enhance productivity and sustainability of potato production in Canada
  • Applying genomic ideotype breeding to increase bean productivity, healthfulness and sustainability
  • Characterization of phytochemicals and dietary fibres in pulse processing by-products for value-added functional food products
  • Research network on emerging mycotoxins of potential importance for Canadian agriculture and regulation of domestic commodities and international trade

Professional activities / interests

  • Characterization of food bioactives with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities
  • Bioaccessibility, bioavailability, metabolism and cell signaling modulating effects of food bioactives
  • Characterization and mitigation of mycotoxins in food and natural antimicrobials

Education and awards

Education

  • Postdoctoral Fellow Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA (1992-1996)
  • Ph.D. in Agricultural Chemistry, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan (1991)
  • M.Sc. in Agricultural Chemistry, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan (1988)
  • B.Sc. in Agricultural Chemistry, Beijing Agricultural University, Beijing, China (1984)

Awards

  • Gold Harvest Award - Innovation, Collaboration and Service Excellence, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, 2016
  • Highly Cited Researchers since 2014-present, Thomson Reuters (http://highlycited.com/ )

International experience and/or work

Collaboration with researchers in Italy, Mexico and China

Key publications

  1. Tsao, R. (2015). "Synergistic interactions between antioxidants used in food preservation.", in Shahidi, F. (ed.) - Handbook of Antioxidants for Food Preservation, Elsevier Inc. Academic Press, pp. 335-347.

    2015 - View publication details

  2. Shen, H.S., Liu, H., Chen, J.-C., Shao, S., Zhu, H., Tsao, R., and Zhou, T. (2015). "Tetramethylpyrazine from Pleurotus geesteranus.", Natural Product Communications, 10(9), pp. 1553-1554.

    2015 - View publication details

  3. Chen, P.X., Dupuis, J.H., Marcone, M.F., Pauls, P.K., Liu, R., Liu, Q., Tang, Y., Zhang, B., Tsao, R. (2015). Physicochemical Properties and in Vitro Digestibility of Cooked Regular and Nondarkening Cranberry Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and Their Effects on Bioaccessibility, Phenolic Composition, and Antioxidant Activity. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, [online] 63(48), 10448-10458. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.5b04005

    2015 - View publication details

  4. Villeneuve, S., Power, K.A., Guévremont, E., Mondor, M., Tsao, R., Wanasundara, J.P.D., Zarepoor, L., Mercier, S. (2015). Effect of a Short-Time Germination Process on the Nutrient Composition, Microbial Counts and Bread-Making Potential of Whole Flaxseed. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, [online] 39(6), 1574-1586. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jfpp.12385

    2015 - View publication details

  5. Soliman, S.S.M., Greenwood, J.S., Bombarely, A., Mueller, L.A., Tsao, R., Mosser, D.D., Raizada, M.N. (2015). An endophyte constructs fungicide-containing extracellular barriers for its host plant. Current Biology, [online] 25(19), 2570-2576. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2015.08.027

    2015 - View publication details

  6. Chen, P.X., Tang, Y., Marcone, M.F., Pauls, P.K., Zhang, B., Liu, R., Tsao, R. (2015). Characterization of free, conjugated and bound phenolics and lipophilic antioxidants in regular- and non-darkening cranberry beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Food Chemistry, [online] 185 298-308. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.03.100

    2015 - View publication details

  7. Chen, P.X., Bozzo, G.G., Freixas-Coutin, J.A., Marcone, M.F., Pauls, P.K., Tang, Y., Zhang, B., Liu, R., Tsao, R. (2015). Free and conjugated phenolic compounds and their antioxidant activities in regular and non-darkening cranberry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) seed coats. Journal of Functional Foods, [online] 18 1047-1056. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2014.10.032

    2015 - View publication details

  8. Tang, Y., Li, X., Chen, P.X., Zhang, B., Hernandez, M., Zhang, H., Marcone, M.F., Liu, R., Tsao, R. (2015). Characterisation of fatty acid, carotenoid, tocopherol/tocotrienol compositions and antioxidant activities in seeds of three Chenopodium quinoa Willd. genotypes. Food Chemistry, [online] 174 502-508. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.11.040

    2015 - View publication details

  9. Li, L., Li, B., Zhang, H., Zhao, A., Han, B., Liu, C., Tsao, R. (2015). Ultrafiltration LC-ESI-MSn screening of MMP-2 inhibitors from selected Chinese medicinal herbs Smilax glabra Roxb., Smilax china L. and Saposhnikovia divaricata (Turcz.) Schischk as potential functional food ingredients. Journal of Functional Foods, [online] 15 389-395. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2015.03.038

    2015 - View publication details

  10. Zhang, B., Deng, Z., Ramdath, D.D., Tang, Y., Chen, P.X., Liu, R., Liu, Q., Tsao, R. (2015). Phenolic profiles of 20 Canadian lentil cultivars and their contribution to antioxidant activity and inhibitory effects on α-glucosidase and pancreatic lipase. Food Chemistry, [online] 172 862-872. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.09.144

    2015 - View publication details

  11. Wang, F., Wang, H., Wang, D., Fang, F., Lai, J., Wu, T., Tsao, R. (2015). Isoflavone, γ-aminobutyric acid contents and antioxidant activities are significantly increased during germination of three Chinese soybean cultivars. Journal of Functional Foods, [online] 14 596-604. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2015.02.016

    2015 - View publication details

  12. Li, H., Deng, Z., Liu, R., Zhu, H., Draves, J., Marcone, M., Sun, Y., Tsao, R. (2015). Characterization of phenolics, betacyanins and antioxidant activities of the seed, leaf, sprout, flower and stalk extracts of three Amaranthus species. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, [online] 37 75-81. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jfca.2014.09.003

    2015 - View publication details

  13. Padhi, E.M.T., Blewett, H.J., Duncan, A.M., Guzman, R.P., Hawke, A., Seetharaman, K., Tsao, R., Wolever, T.M.S., Ramdath, D.D. (2015). Whole soy flour incorporated into a muffin and consumed at 2 doses of soy protein does not lower LDL cholesterol in a randomized, double-blind controlled trial of hypercholesterolemic adults. Journal of Nutrition, [online] 145(12), 2665-2674. http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/jn.115.219873

    2015 - View publication details

  14. Drinkwater, J.M., Tsao, R., Liu, R., Defelice, C., Wolyn, D.J. (2015). Effects of cooking on rutin and glutathione concentrations and antioxidant activity of green asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) spears. Journal of Functional Foods, [online] 12 342-353. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2014.11.013

    2015 - View publication details

  15. Tang, Y., Li, X., Zhang, B., Chen, P.X., Liu, R., Tsao, R. (2015). Characterisation of phenolics, betanins and antioxidant activities in seeds of three Chenopodium quinoa Willd. genotypes. Food Chemistry, [online] 166 380-388. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.06.018

    2015 - View publication details

  16. Hao, X.M., Guo, X.-B., Tsao, R., Khosla, S., and Chen, X. (2014 Confidential). Sustainable Year-Round Greenhouse Vegetable Production with Supplemental lighting, Final Research Project Report to Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (July 15, 2014), 28 pages . (Report)

    2014 - View publication details

  17. Zhang, B., Deng, Z., Tang, Y., Chen, P.X., Liu, R., Ramdath, D.D., Liu, Q., Hernandez, M., Tsao, R. (2014). Effect of domestic cooking on carotenoids, tocopherols, fatty acids, phenolics, and antioxidant activities of lentils (Lens culinaris). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, [online] 62(52), 12585-12594. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf504181r

    2014 - View publication details

  18. Kirby, C.W., Wu, T.-Y., Nabuurs, M.H., Tsao, R., Tsao, R., and McCallum, J.L. (2014). "Anthocyanin and Pyranoanthocyanin Biosynthesis in Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina L.).", 53rd Annual meeting of Phytochemical Society of North America (PSNA), Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, August 9-13, 2014, Presentation.

    2014 - View publication details

  19. Tsao, R. (2014). "Synergistic interactions between antioxidants used in food products.", in Shahidi, F. (ed.) - Handbook of antioxidants in food preservation: Sources, Stability and Extraction, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, UK, Chapter 12.

    2014 - View publication details

  20. Tang, Y., Li, X., Chen, P.X., Zhang, B., Hernandez, M., Zhang, H., Marcone, M.F., Liu, R., Tsao, R. (2014). Lipids, tocopherols, and carotenoids in leaves of amaranth and quinoa cultivars and a new approach to overall evaluation of nutritional quality traits. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, [online] 62(52), 12610-12619. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf5046377

    2014 - View publication details

Research facility

93 Stone Road West
Guelph, ON N1G 5C9
Canada

Affiliations

  • Adjunct Professor, University of Guelph
  • Associate Graduate Faculty, Department of Food Sciences, University of Guelph
  • Adjunct Professor, Nanchang University
  • Adjunct Professor, Jiangsu University
  • Adjunct Professor, Changchun Normal University
  • Chair/Organizer, Symposium at Pacifichem (1995-Present)

Language

English

Other languages

Chinese, Japanese