Philip Morris Professor Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Bioprocessing and Environmental Controls Engineering
Room 111, David S. Weaver Laboratories
Box 7625, NCSU
Raleigh, NC 27695-7625
Voice: (919) 515-6790
Fax: (919) 515-6772
Dr. Boyette stands comfortablly among tobacco leaves. He is an N.C. expert in the area of processing and handling of tobacco and other fresh produce.
Dr. Michael D. Boyette is a Philip Morris Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and a licensed Professional Engineer. Dr. Boyette proudly received all three of his degrees from NC State University. He earned his BS and Ph.D. in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and his MS in the Department of Wood and Paper Science. After earning his BS and prior to joining NCSU as an Extension Specialist in 1983, he worked for six years as a design engineer in the Nuclear Products division of Rockwell International Corp. He earned his Ph.D. in 1990. He became a full professor and was named a Philip Morris Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering in 1999.
Dr. Boyette's interests and expertise is in the general area of crop processing. Specifically, he has conducted research and Extension work in the harvesting and postharvest handling of tobacco and fresh fruit and vegetables. He led multi-state efforts in the on-farm baling of tobacco during the years 1995-98 which was estimated to save the industry in excess of $25 million per year. In 1999- 2000, he was the lead researcher in another multi-state effort to retrofit tobacco curing barns to reduce the production of tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNA's) during the curing process. TSNA's are known carcinogens that form during the curing of the tobacco. Due to the efforts of Boyette's team, the levels of TSNA's were reduced more than 92% the first year.
Sweetpotato consumption and popularity as a healthy food has grown by almost 50% in recent years. Sweetpotatoes are North Carolina's premier horticultural crop with more than half the sweetpotatoes produced in the US grown in North Carolina. Over 20% of North Carolina sweetpotatoes are exported to Europe with the balance reaching domestic consumers year around as table stock and increasingly as processed fries and chips. One of the main reasons for sweetpotatoes growth in popularity is their availability year around from very sophisticated storage facilities. North Carolina sweetpotato growers possess over 95% of the controlled storage facilities in the US. The design for these facilities was pioneered in the late 1980's by Dr. Boyette in cooperation with a group of forward looking growers who were able to envision a bright future for what was then a declining regional product.
Dr. Boyette has also had an enduring interest in wood gasification since his undergraduate days at NCSU. He has built and tested numerous gasification units and recently developed a biochar reactor to produce granular charcoal. This technology has been adopted and commercialized and is now used to produce biochar for use in greenhouse media.
Although Dr. Boyette is a productive and practical researcher and is widely known for his Extension work, he is foremost a teacher and mentor. He teaches the department's capstone engineering course as well as courses in postharvest handling and the history and policy issues of agriculture. He is well liked and respected as an educator and has been awarded twice the departmental teacher of the year award. Dr. Boyette has authored more than 100 papers and extension publications and has chaired and mentored more than 50 graduate students and serves on numerous committees.
- Harvesting and postharvest handling of tobacco and freshfruits
- Controlled storage facilities
- Sweetpotato processing and product development
- Gasification units
In the News
Current Research, Teaching, and Extension efforts have been highlighted in issues of Perspectives: A publication of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
- Championing the Sweet Potato - Growing industry - Fall 2012
- Down from the Mountain - Burley Tobacco Mechanization - Fall 2005
- An Enterprising Future - Value-Added Agriculture for North Carolina Agricultural Leaders- Winter 2004
- Workable Solutions - Biological and Agricultural Engineering Senior Design- Spring 2002
- Back to the Future - Using Heat Exchangers in Tobacco Curing Barns - Winter 2001
- Profit from (Bio)Process - Adding Value to Crop Residues Such as Cotton - Winter 2004
- French-made tobacco harvester tours North Carolina tobacco farms - Mechanized Burley Tobacco Harvesting Method - Fall 2006
College of Agricultural News Service
NCSU News Stories
- Sweet Possibilities -- NCSU News Service - 11/2011
N. C. Marketing Effort Helps Farmers Transition from Tobacco to Produce Online News: [A] Agriculture.com , 08/2011
- "Green coal" to get a tryout Online News: http://www.mcclatchydc.com 01/2009
- Farmers Find Future for Fuels in Fields Online News: Woodleaf BioDiesel, 10/2007
- Postharvest Publications
- Sweet potato postharvest
- Burley Production Guide
- Flue-cured Production Guides
- Flue-Cured Post harvest & System Efficiency Guide
- Burley Tobacco Curing Frame
- Burley Portable Notcher
- Burley Stripping Aid
- Senior Design
- Postharvest Handling
- History and Policy Issues of Agriculture