Archive for March, 2014

Experiments by Incan agronomists

Earlier this week I visited Machu Picchu in Peru, which features extensive terracing for crop-growing. Five-hundred years ago the Incans took full advantage of a uniquely temperate microclimate on sites like this along the border of the Amazon. First of all they engineered a drainage system out of rocks brought up from the river below. Then they covered it with dirt laboriously hauled from fertile plains at lower elevations. Next they evidently experimented on different crops at different levels to get the best interaction with varying temperatures each step of the way down from the peak. According to a team of agronomists and archeologists Machu Picchu terraces from U Penn who reproduced the Incan farming conditions, yields of potatoes came in at two or even four times what would be expected. All this is quite impressive—building a self-sustaining city at nearly 8000 feet on a peak with only a few, small flat areas.

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Design of experiments (DOE) most important for optimizing products, processes and analytical technologies

According to this February 2014 Special Report on Enabling Technologies two-thirds of BioProcess readers say that DOE makes the most impact on their analytical work.

 “The promise of effective DOE is that the route of product and process development will speed up through more cost-effective experimentation, product improvement, and process optimization. Your ‘batting average’ will increase, and you will develop a competitive advantage in the process.”

–Ronald Snee

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