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Welcome to Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering!

 

Feeding 9 billion people by 2050! The Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering Department is addressing this world-wide challenge through cutting-edge technology, sustainable practices, and the drive to make a difference in the world. The tools we use range from satellites, to drones, to nanotechnology, to big data science. We’re working on

  • Optimizing growth conditions in controlled environment agriculture
  • Finding alternative fuel and feed sources
  • Irrigating crops sustainably
  • Analyzing big data sets generated from using sensors and controls and looking at metagenomics

Learn how you can help feed 9 billion people by 2050!


 

In Memoriam: Kenneth Renard, 1934 - 2016

Kenneth Renard was a Research Hydraulic Engineer at the USDA-ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center (USDA-SWRC) here in Tucson.  He had a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and obtained his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Arizona in 1964 (He was named the Outstanding Alumni from CE during their centennial celebration in 2012).   He was the Research Leader at SWRC from 1982-1994 and is known as the “father” of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation.  He was also the engineer who established the world renowned  “Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed” near Tombstone, Arizona.  He provided funding for a number of ABE graduate students and served as research adviser and/or committee member for a number of them as well. Ken passed away last Monday (February 8, 2016). He retired from the USDA in 1994 and was an adjunct professor then DCC in ABE from 1991 until his death.  Ken was a great active  supporter of ABE… and will be greatly missed.

Kenneth Renard Obituary

 

 

 


Graduate Research Spotlight

Jesus Rodgriguez, ABE PhD Student

Downscaling MODIS Evapotranspiration via Cokriging in Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District, Yuma, AZ

Jesus Rodriguez is working to downscale ET data from 1-km-MODIS scale to 250-m-spatial resolution using a geostatistical approach (cokriging) in the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District. The auxiliary variables are Land Surface Temperature (LST) and Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI). Jesus hopes to characterize the spatial variability of ET in the study area (structural analysis) and to validate the downscaled ET with the original data to realize if the results are coherent. So far, all the resulting variograms and cross-variograms were anisotropic and the downscaled ET is coherent. Jesus has found that 250m resolution, while still coarse for many agricultural applications, is a reasonable and practical scale and that it is possible to downscale ET for farm-level applications using remote sensing and geospatial techniques.


 

 

Soohee Cho, ABE PhD Student

Smartphone-Based Biosensors for Detecting Pathogens on Microfluidic Platforms

 

 

The early detection of pathogens is crucial for preventing illnesses, and can ultimately secure world health. The fast growing mobile phone market in the developing world greatly potentiates the use of smartphone-based biosensing for the delivery of rapid and point-of-care diagnostics. Soohee uses smartphone biosensing to enable rapid diagnostics on two platforms, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) system & Microfluidic Paper Analytical Device (µPAD) to specifically and sensitively detect low concentrations of pathogens. The fabricated PCR system thermocycles Escherichia coli (E. coli) rapidly, compared to conventional thermocyclers, and can immediately detect the presence of E. coli with a devised smartphone-based fluorescent microscope. Fast results enable remote communication in the field and may prevent disease outbreaks among food and water supplies. In regards to µPADs, superiorly low concentrations of E. coli and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (N. gonorrhoeae) are detected from undiluted human urine by smartphone image analysis. Such rapid and easy developed tool can be used for diagnosing or even preventing onset of UTI (caused by E. coli) and gonorrhea (caused by N. gonorrhoeae).

 

ABE News

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