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Supritha Nilam

Location: St. Catharines, ON

Award: Young Canadians

Category:

Year: 2009

Innovation:

Anti-Oxidants and Plant Dynamics Part II: From Lab to Land

News Release

St. Catharines Student Aims to Patent Plant Growth Promotion Recipe
Ontario High School Student Receives Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award at National Science Fair


WINNIPEG, MB - (May 15, 2009) Supritha Nilam's science fair project to promote plant growth with antioxidants has garnered the Grade 11 student from St. Catharines, Ontario $4500 in prize money and a Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award. Earlier this year a patent was filed to protect the award-winning recipe.

Over the past two years, Nilam has been working with mentors from the University of Guelph on her plant-growth promotion project. Her idea for the project came to her when she was watching the news. She wondered, if plants produce antioxidants that help improve human health, could these same antioxidants improve plant growth as well?

To test her idea, Nilam watered a variety of plants with an extract of antioxidants, including ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The plants included impatiens, geraniums, petunias, and various vegetables, all of which she grew in a greenhouse at a research station in Vineland. The treated plants were not only very healthy, but grew much more than untreated plants.

The antioxidant concoction could allow growers to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers. One of the benefits would be that less fertilizer would find its way into lakes and ocean water. Fertilizers and other excess nutrients in run-off cause algae to grow out of control, which in turn depletes the water of oxygen and chokes out fish and other aquatic life.

Nilam was among 489 finalists competing at the national fair, held at the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, May 9th to 17th. During the week, students from across Canada have competed for nearly $1 million in scholarships and grants.

The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation introduced the Young Canadian Program in 1992 to recognize Canada's innovative youth. Each year a judging team selects eight winning projects at the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) for a $500 Manning Innovation Achievement Award presented at the CWSF; four of these are selected for a $4000 Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award. The Young Canadian Innovation Awards are sponsored by Petro-Canada (2), the Jim McEwen Family and the Dave Mitchell Family, and are presented at the Foundation's Annual Awards Gala being held this year in Vancouver on September 18th.

Visit www.manningawards.ca for more information and winner videos.

Contact:
Bruce Fenwick, Executive Director, Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation, Phone: 403-645-8277 Email: bruce.fenwick@encana.com

Lori Murray, Youth Science Foundation Canada, Phone: (Toll free) 866-341-0040 ext. 3 Email: communications@ysf-fsj.ca