Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Satellites and Drones Search for Better Wheat Varieties to Feed the World

May 29, 2019  |   WSU Insider

WSU researchers are using satellites and drones to search for better wheat varieties to feed a growing world. The team launched a new project this spring, developing techniques that allow satellites and drones to identify and study wheat varieties from overhead. This research is funded by a USDA-NIFA grant.

The team looks to speed up research toward identifying better, more productive wheat varieties.  If successful it will give growers powerful new tools to improve farming. Wheat currently feeds more than 1/3rd of the human population and is grown on more acres than any other crop. To meet the growing worldwide demand and stay ahead of pests, pathogens and a changing environment, wheat breeders strive to develop improved varieties. Phenotyping (measuring the way plant genes are expressed physically) allows selection of the best plants to breed for improved yield, grain quality and disease resistance. Machines can sense crop traits faster. With modern satellite imagery matched together with drones, visual and infrared imagery can be collected from wheat plots. Drone cameras can collect data with the hope that this matching process will enable identification of wheat varieties from orbit.

Part of the project’s challenge is to learn whether wheat varieties and their physical characteristics can be differentiated by their spectral data. “Sensors are getting better every day,” said team member Sindhuja Sankaran, an associate professor and sensor technology researcher at WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering. “As resolution increases and camera costs drop, we have more powerful tools to sense how crops are performing.” Improved sensors will help to speed up the selection of new varieties, as well as help predict yields, monitor crop performance and protect plants from drought.

Read the Article : Images from space could help farmers grow better wheat varieties. WSU Insider

 

 

 

 

 

Artificial intelligence and precision farming: does efficiency mean sustainability?

May 28, 2019  |   filling-space.com

  • How does artificial intelligence-powered precision farming affect food sustainability?

This is a question that Filling Space.com asked their panel of experts, including Sindhuja Sankaran, an Agricultural Automation Engineering specialist from Washington State University’s Biological Systems Engineering Department.

Sankaran says, “For us, artificial intelligence serves as a key tool that assists in the application of sensor technology for phenotyping applications. Given the natural variability in plants, the thousands of crop varieties evaluated, and advancements in sensor technology (e.g. hyperspectral imaging system), it is impossible to identify patterns and evaluate plant traits without the application of artificial intelligence techniques… we use these methods to contribute to machine-guided informed selection of varieties, thus contributing to sustainability.”

Read the Article : Artificial intelligence and precision farming: does efficiency mean sustainability?, 2019, Filling-space.com

 

 

 

 

 

2019 PSIFT Student Achievement Awards

May 7, 2019  |  Seattle, WA

2019 Student Achievement Awards for the Puget Sound Section of the Institute of Food Technologists (PSIFT).

Awards were presented to BSE graduate students at the annual meeting for the Puget Sound IFT on May 7, 2009 at Elliot Bay Public House and Brewery (Seattle, WA).

Awards were given in 3 categories: Scholastic Achievement Award, Outstanding Student Award, and Travel Award.
PSIFT was able to give out over $14,000 in awards this year!

The annual meeting also featured presentations from Christie Tarantino-Dean, IFT CEO and Luke Stedman of Callison’s. Christie gave an update from National IFT, and Luke led the group through the process of creating great flavors.

A list of Award recipients is below:

Scholastic Achievement Award
Ga Young Shin – Masters in Biological Systems Engineering
Yuqiao Jin – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Ewa Pietrysiak – Ph.D. in Food Science
Pavitra Krishna Kumar – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering

Outstanding Student Award
Lauren Rooney – Junior in Food Science
Karin Thorsen – Masters in Food Science (Kansas State Univ.)
Chandrashekhar Sonar – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
YoonKi Hong – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Juhi Patel – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering

Travel Award
Sumeyye Inanoglu – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Ashutos Parhi – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Yonas Gezahegn – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Ren Yang – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
Jie Xu – Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bioenergy & Bioproducts Engineering


Bioenergy & Bioproducts Engineering

Bioenergy & Bioproducts (BBE) scientists work toward advancing science and technologies to convert biomass, including wastes, into useful products, fuels, and fuel additives.  Highlights of our research program include:

  • Production lipid from lignocellulosics for upgrading into renewable jet fuels, diesel, and gasoline
  • Integrated algal fuel production including culture processes and extractions of co-products and lipids
  • Anaerobic digestion technologies for producing biogas, co-products, and nutrient recovery
  • Multiscale modeling of biorefining processes and systems
  • Devise feasible process to deconstruct  cellulosic biomass
  • Identify pathways to convert lignin to jet fuel
  • Biomass thermochemical conversions for producing advanced biofuels, chemicals, and bioproducts

Bioenergy & Bioproducts Engineering In the News

  • Dr. Hanwu Lei Featured by USDA NIFA

    June 12, 2019  |   NIFA Update

    A research group led by Washington State University (WSU) scientists has found a way to turn daily plastic waste products into jet fuel.

    In a new paper published in the journal Applied Energy, WSU’s Hanwu Lei and colleagues melted plastic waste at high temperature with activated carbon, a processed carbon with increased surface area, to produce jet fuel.

    “Waste plastic is a huge problem worldwide,” said Lei, an associate professor in WSU’s Department of Biological System … » More …

    Read Story

How to Find Us

How to Find Us

L.J. Smith Hall is across the street and bit south of Lighty Student Services (French Ad).

 

L.J. Smith Hall 213
1935 E. Grimes Way
PO Box 646120
Pullman, WA 99164-6120

(509) 335-1578

About Us

About Us

From the Department Chair

Welcome to the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Washington State University. Our department has seventeen award-winning and internationally recognized faculty members. They conduct applied engineering research and outreach activities in four focus areas: a) Land, Air, Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, b) Food Engineering, c) Bio-energy and Bio-product Engineering, and d) Agricultural Automation Engineering. Our core research programs seek engineering solutions for better environment, renewable energy, productive and sustainable agriculture, and safe and nutritious foods.  The Department offers advanced degrees in Biological & Agricultural Engineering and prepares students for successful careers in academia, industry, and government.  About 70 Ph.D. students and 15 M.S. students receive a world-class education and conduct exploratory research along with over 50 post-doctoral researchers, research engineers, visiting students and professors.

I invite you to visit individual faculty websites and engage in discussion to identify opportunities for education or research collaboration. I welcome prospective students and alumni to visit the department and meet with our faculty, staff, and graduate students.

I look forward to working with you on strengthening our program and building a productive and rewarding future.

Learn more about Juming Tang, Ph.D.

Regents Professor and Department Chair


Research Emphasis

Biological and Agricultural Engineering is a multidisciplinary program that offers students the flexibility to accommodate a blend of engineering and science in their programs of study and research projects. Students apply engineering and biological principles to conduct high-quality research and to develop and disseminate knowledge and technologies in the areas of agriculture, food, energy, and natural resource systems. BSE offers the Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Biological and Agricultural Engineering with four areas of emphasis:

Dr. Juming Tang
Dr. Juming Tang

Degrees Offered

Ph.D. and M.S. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering

 

 

Washington State University