AURI is a science-based institute. We offer clients technical assistance and laboratories to put innovative concepts through rigorous testing, analysis, development and scale-up for commercial markets.

Our resources are limited; we can’t add every flashy piece of equipment or software that comes out. But we strive to maintain equipment that is up-to-date with industry standards. When technology becomes available that can improve our services, we give it strong consideration.

AURI’s specialized laboratories and scientists are located throughout Minnesota to assist businesses and agricultural groups with testing and improving value-added ag products. We focus on areas with the highest development demand: food, bioproducts, bioenergy and coproduct utilization. AURI’s labs and pilot plants in Greater Minnesota include:

Fermentation and chemistry lab, Crookston: is used for microbiology research and for developing and analyzing industrial products. We have added an infrared gas analyzer that measures methane, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, a high-performance liquid chromatograph for sugars, acids and other applications, and a gas chromatograph for measuring greenhouse gases.

Food product laboratory, Crookston: supports the development, nutritional analysis, labeling, scale-up and refinement of new food products.

USDA-inspected meat laboratory, Marshall: is used for formulating and analyzing animal products, with equipment for developing and testing new products.

Oils laboratory, Marshall: is an analytical lab for fats and oils used in industrial products, such as biofuels, as well as food and feed. The lab has added a CHN analyzer that uses a combustion chamber to analyze a sample’s carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen composition as well as sulfur and oxygen.

Coproducts utilization lab, Waseca: is used for developing new plant and animal coproduct uses that present environmental and economic opportunities. Focus areas include biomass energy, ag processing byproducts and crop residues. The lab recently added a high-capacity hammer mill, pneumatic material handling system and a pellet cooling system. These systems allow us to do larger trial runs while collecting more and better data. The Waseca lab now has the capacity to measure methane-gas production potential.

Without unlimited funds, it is nearly impossible to have everything that is available for conducting applied research and technology transfer. However, as an innovative organization, it is important for AURI to have the equipment necessary to keep giving Minnesota agri-businesses the information they need to make sound decisions.

Staff profile: Edward Wene

AURI Senior Director of Science and Technology

What is your education background?

University of Illinois undergraduate, master’s degree in forestry and Ph.D. in plant pathology.

What are your primary responsibilities at AURI?

To assist AURI clients by determining if our laboratories, or outside technical expertise, can help improve their product or process.

What is the most unique thing about what you do?

I am able to work with a very diverse scientific team within AURI to solve real problems that our clients face.

What role does science and technology play in developing ag products?

Science and technology are key to creating new products, improving existing products and keeping businesses competitive by improving production efficiencies.