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Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Facilities and Laboratories

Bioprocessing Laboratory

This laboratory with more than 3,500 square feet of space, is well-equipped with advanced facilities for both research and teaching. Advanced facilities include mills with different capacities for biomass size reduction, high-pressure reactor apparatus and sends-bath reactor for biomass pretreatment, 5-L sterilizers with different capacities for production of biofuel and chemicals through a fermentation Bioreactor (BF-3000) and water bath shakers for fermentation, incubator shakers for biomass hydrolysis, lamina flow for bacteria inoculation, polymer chain reaction machine and French press for biomaterial research, small-scale fast pyrolysis reactor for bio-oil production, centrifuges with different capacities for material separation, HPLC, spectrometer (UV-VS), FTIR spectrometer (Spectrum 400), 5890 GC/5975 MS coupled with CDS 7000 Purge and Trap, CHNSO analyzer, Buchi Rotavapor, IKA Bomb Calorimeter, Karl Fisher ultrasound system, freeze dryer, rheomenter, CO2 supercritical extractor, and rotavapor for biomass characterization and chemical analysis.

Bioseparations Laboratory

This laboratory is used for research and teaching activities within the department. Research within the laboratory is currently focused on two areas: 1) processing for value-added co-products from biofuel production, and 2) separation of high-value protein products (industrial enzymes, biopharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals) from transgenic plants and other biological sources. The goal of the first area is to develop new processing strategies that will reduce biofuel costs by creating higher value co-products utilizing nonfermentable biomass fractions. The objective of the second research area is to design efficient and economical extraction and separation methods for the purification of recombinant proteins, which can be used for human and animal health. The lab is equipped with instruments for downstream processing operations (extraction, fractionation and purification) and complementary tools for quantification and analysis of biological materials. It is equipped for grinding of and extraction from biological materials including a Silverson high-speed homogenizer, Waring blender and stir plates. Protein analytical tools include a Molecular Devices SpectraMax® Plus384 Absorbance Microplate Reader, Life Technologies iBlot® Dry Western Blot System and NuPAGE® SDS-PAGE Gel System. Fractionation and purification tools include a Spectrum Labs KrosFlo® Research IIi Tangential Flow Filtration System (KR2i) and equipment needed for chromatography adsorption studies.

Environmental Laboratory

This laboratory is used for assessment of agricultural wastes, water quality and development of best management practices for natural resource protection. It has a state-of-the art Dionex DX- 600 ion chromatograph for analyzing micro- and macronutrients from soil and water samples, a Hewlett Packard HP-5890 Series II gas chromatograph with electron-capture (ECD) and flame-ionization (FID) detectors for pesticide and hydrocarbon analysis, and a Shimadzu SCL 10 A VP high-performance liquid chromatograph with a photo diode array detector and a fluorescence detector. The wet laboratory includes a chemical fume hood, 0ºC and 4ºC storage, a clean bench, pH and electrical conductivity probes, a Brookfield viscometer, and a 300ºC oven for sample preparation and bench-scale research. An analytical laboratory is available for sample analysis.

Air-Quality Laboratory

The Air Quality Laboratory supports the research and teaching missions of the BAE department in agricultural air quality and related areas. Current research includes characterization, control and modeling of air emissions from large cattle feedlots; environmental applications of nanotechnology; fugitive dust emissions from military activities; and grain handling and storage. The laboratory is equipped with conventional and specialized instruments for sampling and/or measuring particulate matter concentrations, particle size distribution, gas concentration, flow rates and velocities, and meteorological parameters, among others. Major pieces of equipment include tapered-element oscillating microbalance particulate monitors, high-volume and mini-volume particulate samplers, Aerodynamic Particle Sizer™ spectrometer, Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer™ spectrometer, micro-orifice uniform deposit impactors, optical particle spectrometer, FTIR spectrometer, Chemiluminescence ammonia analyzer, Chemcassette ammonia detector, gas chromatographs, aerosol generator, multi-pycnometer, microbalances and weather stations.

Machinery Systems Laboratory

This laboratory is used for a variety of machinery systems activities including teaching, extension workshops and research. Space in the machinery systems laboratory is flexible allowing for research, lectures, labs and other activities requiring tabletop space workstations and hands-on learning. Areas are designated for specific training tools used for group demonstrations and/or student lab activities. Training tools and equipment include fluid power/hydraulic trainers; multiple chemical application/spray system units; and components including electronics, tractors, utility vehicles and various precision agricultural systems including global positioning systems and variable-rate-application electronics. Space is designated for conducting laboratory-based research in the chemical application area. These research activities include sprayer calibration, nozzle-flow checks, spray-pattern analysis and spray-droplet analysis.  Laboratory space is also utilized for student projects.

Hydraulics Laboratory

This laboratory has flexible-use space for hydraulic, pump, pipe and irrigation testing. The facility includes a below-floor concrete channel and 50,000 L return tank growth chamber; and storage and maintenance for extensive field research equipment including 50+ solar-powered ISCO stream-flow monitors/water-quality samplers, two weather stations, 10+ rain gauges, soil sampling equipment and supplies, EM-38 electromagnetic induction soil conductivity sensor, and irrigation testing equipment and supplies.

Instrumentation and Control Laboratory

This laboratory serves both research and teaching needs of the department. It has seven work stations fully equipped with general purpose electronic instruments. Licensed software is available for student laboratory exercises and supports student team projects related to instrumentation and controls. Research equipment in the laboratory includes specialized instruments and equipment for spectral analysis, hyperspectral imaging, impedance measurement, digital and optical image processing, wireless communication and robotic design.

Water Quality Laboratory

This laboratory is equipped for sediment, nutrient, pesticide and bacterial analyses. Equipment includes analytical balances, membrane filtration apparatus, clean hoods, spectrophotometer, deionized-distilled water, centrifuges, drying ovens, refrigerators and freezers.

Watershed Modeling Laboratory  (Seaton 030A)

This laboratory has six graduate-student-assigned modeling workstations, each equipped with powerful Windows-based computers, dual-screen monitors, server-based file storage and ESRI geographic information system site-license keys; a meeting table; and two student research computer workstations. Modelers routinely test and evaluate current releases and beta versions of leading watershed modeling software (e.g., SWAT, WEPP).

Computer Laboratory (Seaton 138)

This computer laboratory features:

  • 20 workstations
  • 1 B&W and 1 Color printers
  • 1 plotter
  • Microsoft Office 2013
  • ESRI ArcGIS 10.1
  • ArcSWAT 2012
  • Matlab 2012
  • AutoCAD
  • Basins 4.0
  • SolidWorks 2012