On-the-go Quality Sensors for Agricultural Products
Suranjan Panigrahi, Vern Hofman
The agriculture and food sector is an important industry in our country. Innovative mechanization and systems have led the US to be a leader in the world. Though much emphasis was given in the past on quantity, quality has become a key concept in today's competitive world. We realize the need for real-time field scale sensors for quality assessment of its compositions. The random and wide variability of quality parameters and the needs for cost-effective systems posed additional research challenges.
We conducted systematic research in integrating the advancements of optics and electronics along with the pattern recognition software for developing the field-scale sensors. An appropriate material handling system using electro-mechanical techniques was developed. The heart of the sensing system used near infra-red radiation along with other optical and fiber optics techniques. Appropriate spectroscopic techniques and methodologies were used for acquiring the signals. The signals were processed using our develop algorithms (pattern recognition). The proof-of-the-concept systems were developed and tested.
Major Results and Conclustions
Two different systems were developed. One system was meant for on-the-go determination of protein content of grain (wheat). The picture deptics field testing of the proof-of-the-concept system. Another system was developed for deterimination of sugar content of sugar beets.
Both systems showed high prediction accuracies for predicting the corresponding quality parameters (protein and sugar) in a non-destructive manner.
Three U.S. patents have been approved based on these works. The technological know-how can be applied for non-destrucitve quality evaluation of other chemical parameters of other biological products.