NC State Team Wins BASF Plant Science Competition
Winning team of a plant scientist and two electrical engineers identifies new technology to detect biotic plant health stress
A cross-pollination between electrical engineers and plant scientists at NC State proved itself as BASF Corporation selected a graduate student team from North Carolina State University as the winner of its fourth annual North American science competition. The team was selected from 13 teams from the US and Canada that submitted projects to the competition. The winning team members, Dr. Nasie Constantino (CALS), Marzana Mantasha Mahmud (ECE) and Chunkyun Seok (ECE), each received a $1,000 cash award. The task of this year’s competition was to develop solutions to identify plant responses to stress.
“We are continually trying to find ways to equip our customers with the tools they need to get ahead of plant health issues,” said Luke Bozeman, BASF Director, Research and Development, U.S. Crop Protection. “This competition provided a unique opportunity for young academic researchers to work in teams to help identify solutions to a real global plant health concern.”
The NC State team showcased innovative technology to help farmers better manage plant stress factors, such as heat, drought, insects and pathogens. The team created a real-time sensor that could identify and detect volatile organic compounds that plants produce when stressed. With multiple factors affecting a plant’s ability to grow to maturity, the team’s sensor technology could allow for a timely and targeted response which ultimately helps improve a farmer’s ability to produce healthier and more robust crops.
“With the cash prize and mentorship from BASF scientists, we can further our research now,” said engineer Marzana Mantasha Mahmud. “As electrical engineers, we are so excited that we can contribute to this project. It’s a whole different field of study for us.”