Getting in touch with your "inner peanut"

June 5, 2012
Dr. RCN Rachaputi (left) and Dr. Chari Kandala (USDA scientist) with the prototype system for measuring nut-in-shell moistures.

University of Queensland and American scientists have developed a quick, new, low-cost way of monitoring the moisture content of peanuts in the shell.

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and (QAAFI) crop scientist, Dr RCN Rachaputi, has been field testing a non-destructive radio frequency-based technology, originally developed by scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Dr. Rachaputi said there were many advantages to the , which promised a range of applications to post-harvest improvements.

“Rapid assessment of pod moisture is critical to monitoring peanut quality, including efficacy of the post-harvest drying process – and current methods are costly and laborious,” Dr. Rachaputi said.

The prototype probe is being assessed for the first time in the Australian peanut industry as part of the Grains Research and Development Corporation-funded Peanut Agronomy Project led by Dr. Rachaputi.

Technical aspects of the research have been undertaken by Queensland Government , Fisheries and Forestry project team members under the leadership of Dr. Rachaputi.

“While the radio frequency-based technology works perfectly well for assessing of peanut pods and kernels, initial trials are indicating scope for applying the technology to other grain industries, including assessing oil content and quality of biomaterials,” he said.

“The system can also be applied to non-destructively measuring oil content in single kernels, which is of great value for breeders.

“Initially we'll be exploring opportunities for commercialising the system for rapid assessment of pod and kernel moistures in the drying bins, at the intake points, as well as within the peanut processing plants.”

The science underpinning the relationship between radio signals and moisture content has been developed since the late 1990s but the prototype hardware to measure the moisture content of single or bulk peanut pods (non-destructively) using signals was first developed by Dr. Chari Kandala at USDA's National research lab in 2006.

Dr. Rao Rachaputi is a Senior Research Fellow in the QAAFI Centre for Plant Science. He has more than 25 years' experience in crop physiological research on high value summer grain legumes.

Explore further: Peanut allergies overstated, study finds

Related Stories

Peanut allergies overstated, study finds

May 16, 2007

Despite hundreds of families being told their children have peanut allergies every year, many of the children may be able to eat peanuts safely, a study by researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Sydney ...

Tillage, rotation impacts peanut crops

November 10, 2008

The increasing popularity of reduced tillage on crops has not only been an important development in combating soil erosion, but it has also been associated with increasing organic material and producing high crop yields.

Salmonella: Tough to crack when it’s in peanuts

February 11, 2009

( -- For the second time in two years, a nationwide outbreak of salmonellosis has been tied to peanut products. This time, over 570 people have been sickened and over 1700 products have been taken off supermarket ...

Treating peanut allergy through a patch

March 2, 2011

Can your peanut-allergic child be treated by simply wearing a patch? That’s what researchers at National Jewish Health are investigating. National Jewish Health, along with four other institutions in the Consortium of ...

Recommended for you

New gene map reveals cancer's Achilles heel

November 25, 2015

Scientists have mapped out the genes that keep our cells alive, creating a long-awaited foothold for understanding how our genome works and which genes are crucial in disease like cancer.

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...

How cells in the developing ear 'practice' hearing

November 25, 2015

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular ...

How cells 'climb' to build fruit fly tracheas

November 25, 2015

Fruit fly windpipes are much more like human blood vessels than the entryway to human lungs. To create that intricate network, fly embryonic cells must sprout "fingers" and crawl into place. Now researchers at The Johns Hopkins ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.