Technology Improves Peanut Grading, Moisture
Detection By Sharon Durham February 2, 2009
Helping the peanut industry grade peanuts faster and more accurately
could be possible using technology developed by
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
scientists at the
Peanut Research Laboratory (NPRL) in Dawson, Ga.
Sheppard and research leader
Lamb found that using X-ray technology to grade peanuts delivered a 98- to
99-percent accuracy rate, and was faster than official peanut-grading
methods7 minutes versus 20 minutes per sample.
The peanut industry is in a period of rapid economic and technical
change, and this technology will help the industry maintain a competitive edge,
according to Lamb.
Official peanut grading is labor-intensive, requiring three to six
people to hand-shell, pick, sort and grade each nut. The peanut industry sought
help from ARS to improve current procedures or develop new technologies that
would make peanut grading more efficient while ensuring, or even improving,
accuracy and quality.
Another processing problem addressed by ARS research is peanut
moisture. Nuts must have a moisture content of 10 percent or less to be
suitable for further processing and shelling. The ability to determine moisture
before grading begins would allow processors to divert high-moisture nuts for
further drying instead of discarding them. Currently, the nuts are shelled, and
then the moisture content is determined.
Another engineer in the NPRL,
Kandala, developed an automated in-shell moisture-detection system using
radio frequency that could work in tandem with the X-ray grading unit to
provide peanut processors a more efficient operation.
about this research in the February 2009 issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.