Health Benefits of Emerging Crops in Canada


Siow, Y.L., Isaak, C.K., Prashar, S., Wong, M.H., Bhusal, A., O, K., Brown, D., Debnath, S., Ross, K., Blewett, H., Aliani, M., and Utioh, A. (2016) Health benefits of emerging crops in Canada. Therapeutic Applications of Functional Food and Bioactives, April 21-23, 2016 Winnipeg, Canada. Invited Speaker.

Résumé en langage clair

In this conference presentation, the science-based evidence for health benefits of lingonberry and rhodiola, two emerging crops in Canada, is discussed.


The agriculture and agri-food sector accounts for 6.6% of Canada’s GDP in 2014. Horticulture contributes to 7.8% of our exported products. The most promising horticultural products for health benefits are strawberries, blueberries and cranberries. However, there are certain agricultural crops emerging on the horizon that may indeed add to this armory. Some Canadian herbs and berries are rich sources of bioactive compounds, which include the anthocyanins, phenolic acids, stilbenes, tannins, and carotenoids. However, the content and stability of these bioactive compounds can vary depending on the geographic location of growth and on environmental stresses. Through recent progress in analytical instrumentation, more bioactive compounds are being identified and many are either derivatives or metabolites of the originally identified compounds. Some of the identified compounds have been reported to have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-aging, anti-bacterial, anti-mutagenic or anti-carcinogenic properties in experiments performed either in vitro or in vivo. However, the question remains whether the observed health benefits are due to the action of the actual compounds or their metabolites. There may be synergistic effects between compounds that are needed for the realization of health benefits. While it may be impossible to dissect out the action of each, studying the mechanisms of action of the compounds, which are found in high levels in these crops, either individually or in combination, is essential to map out the potential health benefits. Using a simulated cell model and a model rat system, we explore the potential health benefits of lingonberry and rhodiola, two emerging crops in Canada.