Biological Systems Engineering

Seminar Schedule Spring 2014

Place holder image 
Friday, April 18, 2014 at 4:10pm in FSHN T101

Recent Developments in the Deconstruction of Biomas at NREL and Conversion of those Products to Biofuels

Presented by Dr. Melvin Tucker, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Dr. Tucker received his PhD in Biochemistry from Colorado State University. He has worked over thirty years in the field of biomass and biofuels conversions. So far he has published over 65 peer reviewed paper and have received 13 US patents. Currently Dr. Tucker is the manager of 11 researchers working in the “Low Severity Biomass Deconstruction” multidisciplinary team at NREL. The goal of his team is to lower pretreatment and enzymatic saccharification costs in biomass biochemical conversion schemes. 

Friday, April 11, 2014 at 4:10pm in FSHN T101

Graduate Student Seminars

First presenter: Aleana Gongal

3D Machine vision for improved Apple Cropload estimation

Second presenter:  Sadeg Abdurahman

Arundo Donax (Giant Reed) Phytoremediation function of chromium (Cr) contamination

Friday, April 4, 2014 at 4:10pm in FSHN T101

Using plants as sensors for autonomous crop diagnostics

Murat Kacira, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, University of Arizona

Professor Kacira received his MS degree in Agricultural Engineering from Cukurova University, Turkey in 1991 and his MS and PhD degrees in Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio in 1996 and 2000 respectively. In 2007, he joined The University of Arizona. More information on his current research interests can be found at (

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 11:10am - 12:00pm in L.J. Smith 259

Are Drones in Agriculture Mindless Monsters or Harmless Helpers

Future Farmers of America (FFA), Ag Issues Team from Liberty High School

Friday, March 14, 2014 at 4:10pm in FSHN T101

Graduate Student Seminars

First presenter: Difeng Gao

Improved Lipid Production by Morphology Engineering of Oleaginous Fungus Mortierella Isabellina
Advisor: Prof. Shulin Chen

Second presenter: Yasin Osroosh

Precision Irrigation of Apple Trees  in the Pacific Northwest
Advisor: Prof. Troy Peters

Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:10pm in FSHN T101

Training: Jason Sampson – New Global Harmonization System for Hazard Communication

Please join us for a  special training session by Jason Sampson, Manager Environmental Health and Safety, WSU, on the New Global Harmonization System for Hazard Communication.

Friday, February 21, 2014 at 4:10pm in FSHN T101

Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, Director of Major Grant Development
CAHNRS Agricultural Center, Washington State University

Science Writing and Editing

Dr. E. Kirsten Peters grew up in Pullman and was educated at Princeton and Harvard Universities. She helps write and edit grant proposals for faculty in the Agricultural Research Center and CAHNRS (WSU). Her job title is “Director of Major Grant Development." Before holding her current job, she was Director of Public Relations for the College of Science at WSU. She has also taught at the undergraduate level at WSU in geology and interdisciplinary science courses. She writes weekly newspaper columns on science and engineering that go out to more than 150 newspapers from coast to coast. She has written seven books published by major publishing houses in New York. Her most recent book of this sort was a look at natural cycles in climate change as seen through the lens of a geologist. The book is titled “The Whole Story of Climate.” Recently Washington State University Press published a collection of her newspaper columns. That book is titled “Planet Rock Doc.”

Friday, February 14, 2014 at 4:10pm in FSHN T101

Dr. Juming Tang, Professor, Scientist & Associate Chair BSysE
Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University

Microwaves for Safe Foods - Bridging Gap between Academic Research and Industrial Application.

Summary: Microwave heating offers the potential to sharply shorten processing times needed to sterilize or pasteurize pre-packaged foods before they are distributed to consumers. Major challenges in developing commercially viable microwave sterilization or pasteurization technologies include 1) engineering design of microwave applicators that are able to provide stable and predictable heating to a wide range of foods in different package geometries; 2) providing scientific and experimental proof to convince regulatory agencies (e.g., FDA, USDA FSIS) that the processes based those systems are able to produce safe foods in a production environment; 3) ability to produce products with high qualities at reasonable costs for food companies to be interested in adopting the technologies.  This talk will provide an update on development and commercialization of 915 MHz microwave assisted thermal sterilization (MATS) and microwave assisted pasteurization (MAP) technologies at Washington State University. We will give a historic perspective on development of microwave sterilization/pasteurization technologies, and discuss how the research team at Washington State University in partnership with food companies and government organizations address the above challenges.

Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:10pm in FSHN T101

Dr. Craig Frear, Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University

Researcher/Industry Relationships and Commercialization: A Nutrient Recovery Technology Case Study

Friday, January 17, 2014 at 4:10pm in FSHN T101

First Seminar of the Semester!

BsysE Graduate Students: Please remember to enroll for 1 credit of BSYSE 598 as every graduate student must enroll for this course every semester.

In the first seminar Prof. Hoogenboom and I will introduce the students volunteering in our committee as well as part of our administrative staff. The main goal of this seminar is  to inform our students on how we plan to  organize the seminar this semester and to explain the role of our administrative staff and how to make a good use of their services.

I look forward to meeting all our graduate students, faculties and staff members this Friday!

Dr. Manuel Garcia-Perez

Friday, November 22, 2013 at 4:10pm in FSHN T101. 

Yi Wei, PhD Candidate, Biological and Agricultural Engineering will present:

Advanced upgrading of pyrolysis oil via liquid-liquid extraction

Biomass is one of important renewable energy sources. It can be used to produce carbon-based liquid fuels through biochemical and thermochemical methods. Pyrolysis is a thermal chemical method that converts biomass to high energy fuels called bio-oils which are expected to replace the transportation fuel. Various organics with quite different oxygen-containing functional groups mixing together in bio-oil lead to the high instability of bio-oils.  A liquid-liquid extraction method was developed to separate the bio-oil into different chemical groups by their polarities to stabilize bio-oils and improve the quality. The separated bio-oil had similar oxygen-containing functional groups in different phases. Biomass pyrolysis using Douglas fir pellet and characterization of the bio-oil chemical compounds were conducted followed by bio-oil liquid-liquid extractions with several solvents (e.g. hexane, petroleum ether and chloroform). Compared with the raw bio-oil, solvent phase had high concentrations (85%) of phenols and guaiacols, while no sugar and very low acid and alcohol content were detected, which were left in the water phases. Only 16.17 wt. % of total organics based on bio-oil was left in water phase, with a high content of acid and alcohol. Besides, trace of phenolics or guaiacols and no furans were found in the recycling chloroform, indicating an eligible purity of 96.78 wt. % of solvent was distilled and could be reused.

Mark DeKleine, PhD Candidate, Biological and Agricultural Engineering will present:

Evaluating Fruit Impact Bruising on A non-Newtonian Shear Thickening Surface

Fruit bruising that occurs during harvest and post harvest processes decreases the quality of fresh market fruit. Drop heights and fruit contact surfaces are important to engineers designing machinery and processing equipment. In this study, various drop tests were conducted using an instrumented sphere, peaches, pears, and apples. The instrumented sphere was dropped on three surfaces: a tiled floor, a human hand, and a non-Newtonian shear-thickening surface–composed of cornstarch and water. SnowGiant peaches, Bosc pears and six varieties of apples (Gala, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Jazz, Pacific Rose and Fuji) were dropped onto a non-Newtonian surface and physically examined for impact bruises. The drop heights for the instrumented sphere ranged from 30 cm (12 in.) to 91 cm (3 ft.). The peak acceleration and velocity recorded by the instrumented sphere, when dropped from 30 cm (12 in) on the tiled floor, was 323.0 G and 4.0 m s-1, respectively, compared to 50.1 G and 2.3 m s-1 on the non-Newtonian surface. At a drop height of 90 cm (36 in.), the maximum acceleration and velocity recorded on the non-Newtonian surface was 140 G and 4.5 m s-1. The instrumented sphere dropped from 30.5 cm (12 in.) onto a non-Newtonian shear-thickening surface recorded similar peak acceleration and velocity change when compared to a drop onto a human hand. Peaches dropped from 61 cm (24 in.) and 90 cm (36 in.) on non-Newtonian surface had bruise rates of 15% and 25%, respectively. Peaches tended more to bruise when dropped on the shoulder of the fruit. Pears that dropped from 396 cm (13 ft.) had a damage rate of 30%. Pear bruising was not significantly different based on the drop locations in the fruit. Red Delicious apples showed the least amount of bruising at 10% while Pacific Rose bruised 66% of the time, when dropped from 122 cm (48 in.). For use as a damage boundary in harvesting and handling procedures, a surface containing a non-Newtonian shear-thickening fluid can decrease the peak acceleration during fruit impacting.


Updated: November 21, 2013 (CM)
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



H3 Heading

Additional Information Goes Here.

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