Agricultural Technologies

Novel Monomers from Biomass (RFT-478)
The majority of biomass polymers, when broken down into their constituents, consist of cellulose derived sugars of 5 or 6 carbon atoms and lignin-derived aromatic building blocks. These building blocks are relatively highly oxidized and thus, without further chemical conversion, are not well-suited for fuels and chemicals. Scientists at NDSU have recently invented novel methods for the conversion of renewable resources to feedstock chemicals. The lignin and cellulose degradation products are converted to higher quality monomers through certain chemical reactions for use in polymer synthesis.
Biodegradable Soil Sensors that can be "Planted" with a Seed Mixture (RFT-428)
Scientists working at NDSU are developing biodegradable sensors capable of directly monitoring and reporting the soil environment in which they are placed. The sensors are constructed by using electronic printing techniques to print circuit and antenna patterns directly onto renewable, bio-based materials. The circuit patterns are printed with trace amounts of metallic materials such as aluminum that are safe for the soil when the sensors naturally biodegrade over time.
Vegetable Oil-Based Polymers for Nanoparticle Surface Modification (RFT-413)
The extremely high surface area of nanoparticles provides many advantages over conventional particles with dimensions in the micron scale. For a variety of applications, it is necessary to suspend the nanoparticles in a liquid medium. Researchers at NDSU have developed a new plant-oil-based polymer technology focused on the application of nanoparticle suspension in water.