Research Foci

BAE is an active research facility. The department has invested $2.5 million to create new laboratories. Faculty conduct research in bioenergy, food safety, water quality, animal manure management, biosensors for early and rapid detection, and sensors for detecting food quality, and natural products processing.

We successfully attract major research grants from USDA, EPA, NSF, and DHS. We are in the process of hiring several new faculty in the area of bioenergy and biobased products.

Food Quality, Safety and Biosecurity

BAE's service to the fruit and vegetable industry has ranged from studies and development related to planting, harvesting, post-harvest handling, storage, and sprayer technologies to current projects in rapid and nondestructive sensing and sorting. MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, partners with the USDA-ARS Engineering unit at MSU.

The Department is proud to be the home of the Biosensor Lab. Associate Professor, Evangelyn Alocilja, is one of the nation's leading researchers in the field of biosensors. Bio sensors are sensors that use biological receptors, such as antibodies, enzymes and nucleic acids, to detect the presence of specific pathogens. By immobilizing the bioreceptors on thin wafers of metal or membrane and attaching the sensor to a computer, scientists can observe in real time when the antibodies, for example, bind to the target pathogen and send an electrical signal to the computer. Applications to develop antigen-specific biosensors used to detect contaminants in food or water.

Ben Bailey and Renfu Lu conducting food safety test

Renewable Energy Systems

BAE is uniquely qualified to help convert renewable energy sources into energy forms. Biosystems and Agricultural Engineers mold together the biological science with physical sciences allowing them to take an agricultural product (or waste) and convert it to a renewable energy source. MSU researchers have been on the forefront of research in this area. With expertise in crop utilization and a systems approach to problem solving, the department is well suited to lead the way in the development of biofuels.


Sustainable Ecosystems

Michigan animal agriculture producers identified manure management as one of the most challenging issues on their operations. Helping producers overcome this problem required finding a better use for the manure, beyond simply applying it to the land.

Great strides have been made in the area of integrated manure management, thanks to a strong research emphasis at MSU. In a few cases, the manure management plan includes converting the waste stream into an energy source by incorporating an anaerobic digester. This project, which has received over $2 million in funding, is one way researchers in the department are working to solve problems on multiple fronts. Ultimately, the problem was to fix manure management problems, but in its process it solved a global problem.