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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Quality & Safety Assessment Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #330146

Research Project: Rapid Assessment of Grain, Seed, and Nut Quality Attributes with Microwave Sensors

Location: Quality & Safety Assessment Research

Title: Use of material dielectric properties for agricultural applications

Author
item NELSON, STUART - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item Trabelsi, Samir

Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/6/2016
Publication Date: 7/7/2016
Citation: Nelson, S.O., Trabelsi, S. 2016. Use of material dielectric properties for agricultural applications. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. ASABE Paper No. 162458277, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, MI, 2016

Interpretive Summary: Dielectric properties of materials are electrical characteristics of those materials that determine how they interact with electric fields such as those of high-frequency and microwave electromagnetic energy. The use of dielectric properties information for applications in agriculture can be divided into two general categories, dielectric heating and product quality sensing. Dielectric heating of agricultural materials through application of high-frequency electric fields and electric fields associated with microwave energy has been considered for a number of applications. These include drying of products such as grain and seed, controlling stored-product insects, seed treatment to improve germination, improving nutritional value of products, controlling product-borne plant and animal pathogens, and inactivating weed seed and plant-infecting organisms in soils. Product quality sensing applications have included the use of dielectric properties of agricultural products for sensing moisture content and other quality attributes of selected products. In this paper, the fundamentals of dielectric and microwave heating are discussed, and the basis for sensing desired characteristics of materials through their dielectric properties is also considered. Findings of research on agricultural applications are summarized so they might suggest other potential applications for dielectric heating and product quality sensing for the solution of problems in agricultural production, harvesting, handling, processing, distribution, and marketing operations. With further research, useful applications can be expected for both quality sensing and dielectric heating applications that will benefit producers, processors and consumers of various agricultural products.

Technical Abstract: The use of dielectric properties of materials for applications in agriculture are reviewed, and research findings on use of dielectric heating of materials and on sensing of product moisture content and other quality factors are discussed. Dielectric heating applications, include treatment of seed-borne pathogens, stored-product insect control, seed treatment to improve germination, soil treatment for pest control, and conditioning of products to improve nutritional value and quality maintenance. Quality sensing applications reviewed include the sensing of moisture content in grain, seed, fruit and nuts and other quality attributes of fruits and vegetables.