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Seoul National University Department of Biosystems Engineering

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research actResearch Act

Engineering Properties of Bio-Products Lab.

Qualities of biological products including agricultural, livestock and fishery products are evaluated based on their appearance and internal quality factors such as color, shape, size, surface defects, chemical constituents, firmness, maturity, internal defects, freshness etc. To evaluate quality of a given product for marketing, on-line systems should be developed to measure the quality factors nondestructively.

Engineering Properties of Bio-Products Lab. was founded in 1980 to conduct basic researches on identification of optical, electrical and mechanical properties, and to develope new sensors, equipments, automation systems, etc. which are required for quality evaluation and processing of biological products. Major research topics are summarized as follows:

  • Measurement of optical, electrical and physical properties
  • Nondestructive quality evaluation technology for bio-products by image processing, spectroscopic and microwave methods
  • Design of sensors and equipments for automation of post-harvest and food processing systems such as nondestructive sugar sorter for fruits and vegetables, peeled garlic sorter, grain moisture meter, monitoring of fermentation processing, freshness measurement of livestock and fish products, etc.

In 1980's, researches had focused on identification of optical and electrical properties of cereal grains, particularly, rice, to develop nondestructive quality evaluation devices. In 1990's, spectroscopic method and image processing technologies were applied to develop fruit sorting systems based on appearance quality factors such as color, shape and size. And in later 1990's and early 2000's, this lab put emphasize on nondestructive measurement of internal quality factors of fruits such as sugar content, acid content, firmness, internal defects etc. by using computer-based VIS/NIR spectroscopic method. In 2001 a venture company named as Life & Tech Ltd. Co was established to commercialize fruit sorters, peeled garlic sorter and other quality evaluation equipments which have been developed in our laboratory.

For the last two years (2005 and 2006), researches have been done to develop on-line systems to detect internal defects in apple such as water-core, browning, rots, etc and to detect the surface defects such as sour rots, mechanical injury, mold spot etc on citrus for automation of the preliminary sorting stage. The Engineering Properties of Bio-Products Laboratory will continue research works to contribute commercialization of laboratory technology with graduate students and the members of Life & Tech Ltd. Co.


Design of Off-road Equipment and Soil-machine Systems Lab.

Laboratory for Design of Off-Road Equipment and Soil-Machine Systems conducts fundamental researches related to analysis and design of various types of mechanisms for off-road equipments including agricultural machines, forestry machines, construction equipments and military vehicles to enhance their functional performance and energy efficiency.

The research efforts have been focused on load and mission analysis, vibration and noise analysis, soil and machine interactions, safety and ergonomics, and simulations of dynamic behavior and performance of agricultural and forestry machines as well as some military vehicles. The Laboratory also concerns with standardizations of testing technologies for machine performance and reliability evaluations. One of the recently growing interests goes to bionics in which machine theories can be applied to bio-bodies for better understanding of their behaviors from an engineering standpoint.

The Laboratory programs are basically designed to provide graduate students with opportunities to study and research the following areas with a close relation to industry:

  • Design and Analysis of Mechanisms for Agricultural Machines
  • Load Spectrum Analysis and Fatigue Design
  • Standards, Ergonomics, Safety
  • Power Train of Off-Road Vehicles
  • Ride, Handling Behavior of Off-Road Vehicles
  • Noise and Vibrations Analysis and Controls
  • Soil-Machine Interactions
  • Soil-Tool Interactions
  • Soil-Plant Interactions
  • Bionics
  • Management of Bio-Production systems

The Laboratory for Design of Off-Road Equipment and Soil-Machine Systems is located at the Department of Biosystems & Biomaterials Science and Engineering, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Seoul National University in Seoul Korea.

The Lab is one of the key laboratories in the college for agricultural engineering discipline. The Lab is operated by the graduate students pursuing masters and doctoral degrees under the supervision of Professor Kyeong Uk Kim.


Bio Sensors and Electronics Lab.

This laboratory applies biology, chemistry, electrics, electronics, computers, data processing for basic sensors development and artificial intelligence application which are necessary for the research of green biotechnology and bio-system intelligence. Major research fields are described as fellow :

1. Biosensor development
Development of sensors which taste, smell and evaluate safety, storage conditions of food resources and bio-materials using ion electrode, bio-activity material, cell culture, electromagnetic field, NMR(nuclear magnetic resonance), near infrared, fluorescence, microorganisms etc. And also development of sensors which detects residual vital- hormone, antibiotics, pesticide on meats, fruits and vegetables. Representative researches are development of electronic tongue (taste sensor), sugar sensor, safety evaluation sensor for meats, biofilter for ammonia gas removal, and freshness sensor.
2. Applications of artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is research to make a system and intelligent from imitation of human thinking process. Expert system, artificial neural network, fuzzy control, genetic algorithm, chaos theory are useful in artificial intelligence. Representative researches are expert system for plant disease bakery process control using artificial intelligence and fuzzy control, autonomous vehicle using fuzzy control, etc.
3. Mechatronics
Mechatronics is a field of applying mechanics and electronics together. Machine vision, global position system, bio-robot are the major parts of this laboratory works. Representative researches are development of lettuce harvesting robot, precision pest control system using GPS and GIS, etc.

Biomechanics Lab.

Mechanics such as mechanics of materials, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and process engineering is applied to biology or biological systems of plant, animal and human in the biomechanics Lab.

Especially, this Lab focuses on the development of artificial bio-bones, bio-teeth and bio-eardrums using bioresorbable biomaterials. The fabrication of 3D scaffold using biodegradable biomaterals is studied and researched. Also, this Lab. concentrates on the development of culture technology in-vitro and 3D culture systems for bio-organs, which involve biomechanical stimuli such as electrical stimulus, ultra -sound stimulus and mechanical stimulus. Biomechanics in views of tissue engineering is studied in this Lab.

The undergraduate courses offered in this Lab. are

  • Biomechanics
  • Material-Engineering for Biological Application
  • Bio-Thermodynamics
  • Introduction of Biosystems & Biomaterials Science and Engineering, and etc.

The graduate courses are

  • Topics in Biomechanics
  • Topics in Material Engineering for Biological Application

Bioenvironment System Engineering Lab.

Bioenvironment System Engineering (BSE) means a system engineering for environment of living things such as animals, plant and human. In oder to develop technologies for Bioenvironment, through understand on bio-production systems as well as living things themselves in required. Bases of BSE are mechanical, chemical, and environmental engineering but knowledges on biology and chemistry are also necessary.

In 21st century, environmental contamination has been a Ok. Hot issues from global warming to local water contamination. Typical environment issues in agriculture are over-use of agrichemicals, recycling of organic material, bio-energy production, increasing energy efficiency of bioproduction activities and etc. Application of BSE has been changed by social demand. BSE lab in Seoul National University is focusing on how to minimize agricultural inputs (pesticides, fertilizers, water etc.) for sustainable agriculture, how to treat or re-use water/air/soil contamination and wastes related to bio-production and how to provide better environment for various bio- production system. Also, BSE lab has interest in organic farming, integration of environment control technologies for crops, livestock, and human.

There are immense chances and challenges in Bioenvironment area. One who has strong scientific enthusiasm and is ready to meet challenges and respond will be welcomed. Core research fields of the laboratory are following.

  • Bio-oil production system from swine manure
  • Air quality control of inside/outside livestock facilities
  • Precision farming technology, especially variable rate technology
  • Solar energy utilization for agriculture and rural communities
  • Chemical application in biosystems
  • Crop protection technology in organic farming
  • Bioenergy crop harvesting and pre- process for increasing energy density

Bioprocess System Lab.

The Bioprocess System Laboratory is belonging to the Department of Biosystems and Biomaterials Science & Engineering, College of Agriculture & Life Science, Seoul National University. We are currently not only in the cooperation with other laboratories in our department but also Food Enzymology and Food Chemistry Lab in our university for a better understanding as well as conducting projects in which we can perform collaborative researches and share the research facilities also.

The Bioprocess System Lab is conducting researches on system development for process and quality evaluation of food and agricultural products. Efficient production of safe value-added quality products through incorporation of biology and physical tools as well as minimizing chemical treatment into food and agricultural processing is one of our main purposes. Carbohydrates are essential components of all living creatures. Starch is one of major carbohydrates distributed in agricultural botanical sources, which is, in both its native and modified forms, widely used in food processing and preparation. Our focusing research is to use microbial enzymes as the modifiers of starch and starchy foods; investigate the effects of carbohydrate enzymes on structural and physicochemical properties of native starches; and correlate the structure-functionality relationships of modified starches. Consequently, process development and quality enhancementof carbohydrate foods using enzyme and/or modified starch have been applied in the industrial scale. Related techniques that we deal with include production and purification of microbial enzymes; modification of food carbohydrates and agricultural products using novel enzymes; basic laboratory skills as well asanalytical techniques for physical chemistry such as rheology, spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), microscopic analysis (SEM, cryo-SEM, confocal microscopy), chromatographic techniques (GC, HPLC, HPSEC-MALLS-RI, HPAEC), and texture analyzer (TA), etc.

Our currently proceeding project aim is to use bio-reagents such as microbial enzymes to modify starches, especially rice starch and quality enhancement, new technology and/or process development of traditional food products such as rice cakes which were popular among Koreans are considered as our achieving targets.


Biosystems Control and Automation Lab.

Laboratory of Biosystems Control and Automation(BICAL) conducts research on agricultural power systems for farm automation, and biosystems control and sensors for precision agriculture including sensor and controller developments, variate rate fertilizer application, and vehicle guidance.

In the recent years, due to a rapid increase in protected agriculture, BICAL has carried out research projects related to automation of plant factory and environmental monitoring and control of cropping systems in greenhouses.

In addition, due to the need for precision farming to improve both productive efficiencies and environmental quality, BICAL does research on variable-rate farming technology, such as variable rate chemical applicators and control systems, and a tractor steering guidance system for tillage operation done in paddy fields.