Renfu Lu, PhD

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Photo of Renfu Lu
Research Interest: 
Food: Sensors and automation for harvest and postharvest quality evaluation of horticultural crops
Professional Title: 
USDA-ARS Adjunct Professor

524 S. Shaw Lane
224 Farrall Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824


Dr. Renfu Lu has been a Research Agricultural Engineer with USDA-ARS since 1994 and served as Research Leader for the USDA-ARS research unit at Michigan State University since 2007 and Location Coordinator since 2015. Prior to joining USDA-ARS, he was a research assistant professor (1994) and research associate (1990-1993) with the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. As an adjunct faculty since 1999, Dr. Lu has supervised and mentored graduate students in Biosystems Engineering. He currently leads a research team to develop an innovative robotic technology for automated harvesting of apples and a new generation of imaging technology with enhanced capabilities for quality inspection of fruits and vegetables during postharvest handling. Dr. Lu has made many original contributions in the development and application of acoustics, near-infrared spectroscopy, hyperspectral imaging, light scattering, mechanical and optical property measurement, structured-light imaging, and apple robotic harvesting and infield sorting technologies. He has authored or co-authored 141 peer-reviewed journal papers, 2 patents (1 pending), 17 book chapters, 105 conference proceeding papers and 33 other publications (as of April 2021). Dr. Lu has edited two technical books and served as a guest editor for three special issues for two international journals. He has held numerous leadership positions with the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), including chair of Publications Council (2016-2018), Refereed Publications Committee (2014-2016), and Food and Process Engineering Division (2012-2013). He has served as an editor (2009-2015) and associate editor (2002-2009) for Transactions of the ASABE and the journal of Applied Engineering in Agriculture and on the editorial board of two international journals.

Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
M. S. in Agricultural Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
B. S. in Engineering, Zhejiang Agric. University (now Zhejiang University), Hangzhou, China

ASABE Superior Paper Award (total of two). 2019, 2018

ASABE Rain Bird Engineering Concept of the Year Award for the development of an apple harvest and automated infield sorting technology. 2019

ASABE ITSC Select Paper Award (total of 5). 2018, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2004 (for top 10% of papers presented at ASABE ITSC technical sessions)

Fellow of the ASABE. 2013

Outstanding Alumni Award, College of Agricultural Sciences, Pennsylvania State University. 2011

Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Technology Transfer Award for hyperspectral imaging for food quality and safety inspection. 2009

ASAE Superior Paper Award. 2004

ASAE Honorable Mention Paper Award (total of 2). 1998, 1997


Lu, Y., Saeys, W., Kim, M., Peng, Y., and Lu, R. Hyperspectral imaging technology for quality and safety evaluation of horticultural products: A review and celebration of the past 20-year progress. Postharvest Biology and Technology 170:111318, 19 pages. 2020.

Lu, R., Van Beers, R., Saeys, W., Li, C., and Cen, H. Measurement of optical properties of fruits and vegetables: A review. Postharvest Biology and Technology 159:111003, 17 pages. 2020.

Zhang, Z., Pothula, A. K., and Lu, R. Improvements and evaluation of an in-field bin filler for apple bruising and distribution. Transactions of the ASABE 62(2):271-280. 2019.

Lu, Y. and Lu, R. Detection of surface and subsurface defects of apples using structured-illumination reflectance imaging with machine learning algorithms. Transactions of the ASABE 61(6):1831-1842. 2018

Huang, Y., Lu, R. and K. Chen. Development of a multichannel hyperspectral imaging probe for property and quality assessment of horticultural products. Postharvest Biology and Technology 133:88-97. 2017.

 Lu, Y., R. Li, and Lu, R. Structured-illumination reflectance imaging (SIRI) for enhanced detection of fresh bruises in apples. Postharvest Biology and Technology 117:89-93. 2016.

Lu, R. (ed.). Light Scattering Technology for Food Property, Quality and Safety Assessment, 459pp. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group. 2016 (Book)

Park, B. and Lu, R. (ed.). Hyperspectral Imaging Technology in Food and Agriculture, 403pp. Springer. 2015. (Book)

Cen, H., Lu, R., Ariana, D. P., and Mendoza, F. Hyperspectral imaging-based classification and wavebands selection for internal defect detection of pickling cucumbers. Food and Bioprocess Technology. 7(6):1689-1700. 2014.

Leiva-Valenzuela, G. A., Lu, R., and Aguilera, J. M. Assessment of internal quality of blueberries using hyperspectral transmittance and reflectance images with whole spectra or selected wavelengths. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies. 24(SI):2-13. 2014.

Mendoza, F., Lu, R., and Cen, H. Grading of apples based on firmness and soluble solids content using VIS/SWNIR spectroscopy and spectral scattering techniques. Journal of Food Engineering 125(3):59-68. 2014.