Biological Systems Engineering

News, Awards & Announcements 2014-2013

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Studying Termites to Achieve Better Biofuel

March 4, 2014 | WSU News, Rock Doc

A different way of producing biofuels is to use crop residues and woody materials as the source for the fuel. Those materials are full of cellulose and a molecule called lignin. The lignin is bonded to the cellulose within each plant cell.

Professor Shulin Chen of Washington State University is one scientist studying what termites do with an eye toward adopting similar processes to make biofuels from crop residues and woody materials. read full article


Feb 20, 2014 | Dear CAHNRS Faculty and Staff Colleagues:

Juming_TangOn behalf of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences I take great pride in congratulating our own Professor Juming Tang for his promotion to the rank of Regents Professor and Scientist in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering effective July 1, 2014.

The promotion to Regents Professor recognizes faculty members who reach the highest level of distinction in their disciplines and raise university standards in scholarship, teaching, and public service.  Dr. Tang’s record of professional accomplishments is extremely impressive and this promotion acknowledges his outstanding career achievements!

Congratulations to Regents Professor Juming Tang!

Ron Mittelhammer
Interim Dean, CAHNRS
Regents Professor


New Technology Improves Food Safety and Flavor

On Solid Ground | Feb 12, 2014

A new technology that is now available to food companies can increase the consumer appeal of chilled or frozen meals sold in retail markets while reducing the chance of contamination.

A group of engineers led by Dr. Juming Tang, distinguished chair of Food Engineering and associate chair of Biological Systems Engineering at Washington State University, has developed a novel microwave-assisted pasteurization system that can semi-continuously process 8- to 20-ounce pre-packaged chilled meals. This marks an important milestone in a research program funded by a $5 million USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant awarded in 2011 to WSU and partners across the country. see full article


Peas in Disguise May Increase Nutrition

The Daily Evergreen |  Feb 5, 2014

The princess who felt a pea through 20 mattresses would have a hard time even tasting the peas used in Shyam S. Sablani’s food engineering research project.

That’s because Sablani’s peas have been reduced to a fine powder of microscopic pea proteins that could help people get more nutrition in their diet.

Sablani, an associate professor and scientist in the Biological Systems Engineering Department, and two food engineering students are researching the use of yellow peas to create microscopic containers. In a process Sablani called microencapsulation, the pea protein can preserve micronutritional compounds beneficial to human health.

see full article


ASABE 2014 Fellow

January 2, 2014

ASABECongratulations to Dr. Juming Tang. He has been selected by the M-131 Fellow committee, and elected by the ASABE Board of Trustees to the Grade of ASABE Fellow. This is an honorary status to which members of distinction may not apply but must be elected.  This action reflects the high regard you are held by members of this Society.  It also recognizes the significant contributions you have made in this profession.

Following is a summary of Dr. Tang's "Specific Outstanding Technical and Professional Accomplishments" as submitted in his nomination letter.

Dr. Juming TangDr. Juming Tang is a food engineer with a worldwide reputation. Over the past 22 years as a faculty member he authored or co-authored 200 peer reviewed journal papers, 2 books and 15 book chapters, and received 1 US patent (licensed for commercialization), made two pending patent application and four patent disclosures. He has served as the major advisor for 32 Ph.D. students (22 graduated) and 4 MS students, and co-advised 6 Ph.D. students (supported by his grants but having a co-chair from other departments or universities), and 2 MS students. His former students now work as faculty members in food engineering at research universities worldwide (e.g., University of Georgia, UIUC, Auburn University, University of Main, King Saud University, China Agriculture University); as research engineers in major food processing and food packaging companies (e.g., Kraft Foods, General Mills, Pepsi-Cola, Mars, Graphic Packaging, and Wal-Mart); or as research engineers in computer chips design (e.g., Intel) and software design (Microsoft). His laboratory has hosted over 40 domestic and international visiting professors, students and post-doctorate fellows.

The most important impact of Dr. Tang’s research is the development of a patented 915 MHz single-mode microwave sterilization technology and the supporting scientific and engineering platform that has led to FDA acceptance of two new microwave sterilization processes (in 2009 and 2010) filed by his laboratory and non-objection letter from USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) (2012) – first ever in the US history for novel thermal processing technologies based on microwave energy. This novel technology, commonly referred to by the food industry as “microwave assisted thermal sterilization technology” or MATS, is considered as one of the major developments for food preservation technologies in recent years (Food Technology Magazine, February Issue, 2011,; MATS technology uses deep penetration of 915 MHz microwaves (relative to 2450 MHz in domestic microwave ovens) to deliver predictable and stable thermal energy in single-mode applicators (as compared to unpredictable multi-mode designs) to inactivate pathogens in pre-packaged foods. Proper phase control between two opposing entry ports for each microwave cavity enables control of heating patterns in food packages. The system’s thermal processes shorten the time needed to ensure food safety at 121oC, from approximately 40 - 90 minutes in conventional canning processes to just 5-8 minutes for foods in single-meal packages.  The shorter processing times sharply reduce thermal degradation of food quality and nutrition and make possible fully automated industrial operations.  This technology was licensed to a start-up company, Food Chain Safety, Maple Valley, WA, which installed the first two pilot-scale systems in food companies in 2012 and is on schedule to install the first industrial system that is cable to produce 150 meals per min by the end of 2013. To support activities for technology development, regulatory approval, and technology transfer, Dr. Tang formed and served as the Director of Washington State University Sterilization Consortium I (DoD support 50%, and industrial supports 50%, 2001- 2010) and Consortium II (industrial supports, 2010-present) with membership representing some of world’s top food  and packaging companies (e.g., Nestle, Pepsi-Cola, General Mills, Kraft, Bush Brothers, Hormel, Rexam Containers, Ocean Beauty Seafood and Print-Pack), two military ration producers (Wornick Foods, OH and Ameriqual, IN), the US Army Natick Soldier Center, and Seafood Food Product Association (

Dr. Tang also conducted pioneering research on radio frequency heating ( and value-added processes ( .

To recognize his contribution to the development and transfer of novel food processing technologies, Washington State University named Dr. Tang Distinguished Chair of Food Engineering, the first in the history of the University.

Graduate Student Award

November 2013 - Soil Science Society of America

Mr. Hossein SadeghiCongratulations to Mr. Hossein Sadeghi as the recipient of the 2013 Graduate Student Award! Hossein is a Ph.D. candidate at Washington State University under the direction of Dr. Troy Peters in the Biological Systems Engineering Department. Hossein has been described by his advisor as “a brilliant and productive Ph.D. student with big dreams and with high standards of scholarship and high expectations for himself.” Hossein is currently researching “New methods to evaluate and adjust the design and operation of center pivot and micro-irrigation tapered laterals for improved efficiency” at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser WA. The goal of this research is to save water and make irrigation management easier for growers.




BSysE Ranked 20th in the Nation by U.S.News

U.S. News has ranked BSysE among the top Biological and AgriculturalEngineering graduate schools in the country.


Dr. Shyam SablaniShyam Sablani Helps Visiting Cocharan Fellows Learn About Food Security

PULLMAN, Wash. – Food safety professionals from developing countries recently visited Washington State University to learn about processing, transportation and storage advances to feed their countries' people withbetter quality and efficiency. More at WSUNews

Dr. Karkee and Hand with pressure transducersManoj Karkee Receives Tree Fruit Harvesting USDA Grant

August 28, 2013 - Manoj Karkee and his team of WSU scientistsrecentlywon a $548,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to develop tree fruitharvesting technology where robotsand humans work side by side. More at WSUNews

Qin Zhang - ASABE fellow

Qin Zhang Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) fellow for 2013

August 23, 2013 - Qin Zhang, director of the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems at Washington State University, is one of 13 fellows recently named to the American Society of Agricultural and Odgerel Bumandalai Wheat FarmerBiological Engineers (ASABE) for 2013. More at WSUNews

Odgerel Bumandalai featured in WSUNews

August 12, 2013 - Eight international Cougs including Odgerel Bumandalai (M.S. Biological Systems Engineering) recently experienced a wheat harvest firsthand with Whitman County wheat farmer Toby Nelson and his crew... (more)

BSysE sends 25 Students to Annual ASABE meeting

July 21, 2013 - The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers annual meeting took place in Kansas City, MO (July 21-24). BSysE sent 25 students, the most ever, and all but one graduate student presented at least one paper and that one presented a poster. Quite an impressive accomplishment for our students and for our faculty. Our students were sponsored by both the department and by individual faculty.

WSU Anaerobic Digestion Systems Field Day July 10

Dr. Craig FrearDr. Craig Frear is featured in the Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences 'On Solid Ground' discussing the WSU Anaerobic Digestion Systems WSU Field day which will be held this July 10th near Lyndon, Washington.Dr. Dankaran and Dr. Khot


BSysE Welcomes Two New Faculty

June 20, 2013- Sindhuja Sankaran and Lav R. Khot are the newest members of our BSysE faculty. Both join us from the University of Florida. Both Dr. Khot and Dr. Sankaran join our Agricultural Automation Research Emphasis Group. Dr. Khot will also be working with our Food Engineering Research Emphasis group. BSysE is very pleased to have these two outstanding researchers join our department.

More News about the Students, Faculty and Staff at BSysE







June 2013 thru May 2014
August 30, 2013 vsh
BSysE is one of the best....[more]

Department News

Shyam Sablani is Cocharan Fellowship Program
Training Lead... .[more]
Dr. Shyam Sablani
Manoj Karkee Recieves USDA Tree Fruit Harvesting Grant ....[more]
Manoj Karkee
Qin Zhang named ASABE fellow....[more]
Qin Zhang Fellow
Ogderel Bumandalai in WSUNews ...[more]
Ogderel Bumandalai with Wheat Farmer
BSysE sends 25 Students to ASABE
Dr. Craig FrearDr. Craig Frear talks about
WSU Anaerobic Digestin Systems
Field Day
New Faculty Members Lav R. Khot and Sindhuja Sankaran join BSysE. [more]
Dr. Sankaran & Dr. Khot



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Biological Systems Engineering, PO Box 646120, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6120, 509-335-1578, Contact Us