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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Dawson, Georgia » National Peanut Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #419837

Research Project: Systems to Assess, Monitor, and Preserve Peanut Quality and Safety

Location: National Peanut Research Laboratory

Project Number: 6044-41430-005-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jul 1, 2010
End Date: Jun 30, 2015

OBJECTIVE: 1. Determine spectral response characteristics (near infrared, visible, ultraviolet, and radio spectra) of in-shell and shelled peanuts related to various quality parameters such as oil chemistry, maturity, moisture content, protein. a. Develop a low cost NIR instrument utilizing discrete wavelengths in the near infrared, visible, or ultraviolet electromagnetic spectrum to measure oil chemistry, moisture content, protein, and maturity of in-shell and shelled peanuts. b. Develop techniques to utilize the dissipation of radio frequency energy of in-shell and shelled peanuts to determine pod density in damaged and undamaged peanut kernels. 2. Develop sensors, instrumentation, and equipment to measure peanut quality throughout post harvest processing from the farm to final product. a. Develop and test a prototype meter to measure kernel moisture content of intact in-shell peanuts. b. Compare a prototype x-ray imaging system to conventional grading methods to determine foreign material, loose shelled kernels, and kernel size distribution of farmer stock grade samples. 3. Develop peanut curing, handling, and storage systems to preserve peanut quality and reduce operating costs. a. Measure energy costs of current peanut curing systems. b. Develop strategies to eliminate mold growth in shelled peanuts using cold storage and transit to customers. 4. Reduce post harvest processing costs of peanuts for small-scale edible oil/biodiesel production. a. Develop appropriate scale shelling equipment for use with 130 kg/hr oil expeller. b. Optimize peanut kernel pre-processing to optimize oil expeller capacity, oil extraction, and subsequent transesterfication.

Using standard chemical and/or gravimetric procedures, moisture content (MC), total oil content (TOC), protein, and density of the unshelled peanut pods and shelled peanut kernels will be determined. Reflectance and absorbance of individual peanut pods and kernels in the NIR, visible, UV spectra will be measured using a spectrometer. Transmission of radio frequency (RF) individual and bulk samples of pods and kernels will be measured for comparison to density data. Statistical methods such as principal component analysis will be used to select appropriate wavelengths from the NIR, visible, UV, and RF spectra responsive to the desired properties. Calibration equations will be developed. Collaborative research with commercial partners will be conducted to develop an in-shell moisture meter and to reference data and test an x-ray imaging system for non-destructive peanut grading. Peanut samples of all market types will be obtained from across the U.S. peanut production region. Samples will be processed through the prototype instruments and the predicted moisture content and other grade factors will be predicted. The samples will then be processed using procedures accepted by the Federal-State Inspection Service to determine accepted grade factors, and the moisture content determined using an accepted gravimetric oven method. Measured grade factors including moisture content will be compared to the those determined using the x-ray imaging system and the in-shell moisture meter. Wagon and semi-trailer dryers at a commercial drying facility will be instrumented to measure dryer performance. Data will be analyzed comparing the performance of the conventional wagons to the semi-trailer dryers. Energy consumption, drying time, and the resulting single kernel moisture variation, milling quality, and seed germination will be measured and compared. Peanut grade factors, aflatoxin content, and seed germination will be measured before and after storage. The change in these peanut quality factors due to the storage type will be compared. Farmer stock peanuts will be processed in the pilot-scale NPRL Biodiesel Facility to determine the unit costs of on-farm production of biodiesel from peanut. Tests to combine unit operations, such as harvesting, cleaning, and shelling or develop small-scale in-line cleaning and shelling equipment to match the oil expeller capacity will be conducted to minimize the cost of processing peanuts for on-farm biodiesel production.