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Michael D. Boyette, Ph.D., P.E.

Philip Morris Professor
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Bioprocessing and Environmental Controls Engineering

Dr. Boyette
Mike Boyette

Room 111, David S. Weaver Laboratories 
Box 7625, NCSU 
Raleigh, NC 27695-7625 

Voice: (919) 515-6790 
Fax: (919) 515-6772 

agricultural storage facilityDr. Boyette has worked with many commodity businesses to design and improve crop storage facilities.

curing barn controlsCuring product requires numerous engineered controls and settings.

tobacco harvesting rackStudents test a tobacco harvest racking method designed by Dr. Boyette.

Torrefaction ganificationDr. Boyettes designed this woodchip torrefaction unit which is a ganification process.

working with an agriculotural engineering studentStudents enjoy working with Dr. Boyette on projects.

wood pelletingDr. Boyette and his students are working on uses for wood chips.

Dr. Boyette in a tobacco field during biofuel field day
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.

storage facility

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 processing

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.

student, farmer and Dr. Boyette

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.

Research Interests

  • Harvesting and postharvest handling of tobacco and freshfruits
  • Controlled storage facilities
  • Cover photo from Perspectives magazine showing the Kure Beach stormwater solutionSweetpotato 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

boyette cotton

College of Agricultural News Service

NCSU News Stories

Extension News

 N. C. Marketing Effort Helps Farmers Transition from Tobacco to Produce Online News: [A] , 08/2011

Popular Press:

Extension Information

Courses Taught

  • Senior Design
  • Postharvest Handling
  • History and Policy Issues of Agriculture