Dr. Digvir Jayas

For more than 30 years, Dr. Digvir Jayas has been recognized as the Canadian leader in agricultural research on stored grain ecosystems – tackling the growing need for global food security by minimizing losses in stored grain.

Digvir was born in India and completed his graduate studies in Canada at the University of Manitoba and the University of Saskatchewan. His academic career spans more than 35 years at the University of Manitoba as a distinguished professor, and recently concluding more than 13 years as Vice-President (Research) and then Vice-President (Research and International).

Throughout his career, he’s addressed more effective ways to store harvested grain – while maintaining its high quality – by preventing losses from bacteria, insects and moulds as crops move from the field to market and ultimately, the consumer. An innovative researcher, Digvir’s work has impacted and influenced quality check points along the entire grain handling process.

Digvir led the research team that developed horizontal airflow drying of grain and the first 3D model to track heat, moisture and carbon dioxide in storage. The model is helping drive better management systems for stored grains to improve its quality for human consumption. This groundbreaking work – the first in Canada and around the world – led to the rapid adoption of carbon dioxide use in insect control programs.

To provide more timely testing of grain quality, Digvir developed a near infrared (NIR) hyperspectral imaging system for quick, early detection of insect infestation, insect damage and fungal-infected kernels. He later developed a robot to automate grain handling and sample testing for better quality control.

His work has revolutionized the science-based knowledge of grain storage problems. The detection methods Digvir developed provide better tools for taking timely, corrective action that reduces the quantity of spoiled grain, and ensures a greater availability of high-quality grain to feed a growing population and improve the bottom line for Canadian farmers.

Digvir looks for innovative and experimental solutions as he tackles fundamental research problems. He follows through with industrial applications through his extensive network of collaborations in government, industry and academia to make his work real, relevant and practical. The impact of his work is felt throughout Canada and his research has spurred many new technologies to ensure greater food security while providing an economic boon to Canadian farmers.

He gives his time in leadership roles with numerous agri-food related organizations including the Agricultural Institute of Canada, Manitoba Institute of Agrologists, and the Canadian Institute for Food Science and Technology. His awards and honours are numerous including an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Digvir Jayas has tangibly addressed global hunger by significantly improving the availability of high-quality grain to feed Canadians and export around the world.

Nominated By:
  • University of Manitoba