David Salem

David Salem


BioWRAP Team

Meet David Salem

Professor and Laboratory Director

Institution: South Dakota School of MinesDepartment: Departments of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Nanoscience and Biomedical Engineering, and Materials and Metallurgical Engineering; Composite and Polymer Engineering LaboratoryEmail: [email protected]

I am a Full Professor at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (South Dakota Mines) and I have been director of the university’s Composite and Polymer Engineering since 2010. I also lead the CNAM-Biomaterials Center, launched in 2018, which focuses on the biosynthesis, processing, and characterization of microbial biopolymers, and on advanced manufacturing of bio-composites. My research activities involve the study of process-structure-property relationships in polymer-based materials, including multifunctional composites and nanocomposites for a wide range of applications in areas such as energy storage, lightweight protective materials, and sustainable industrial/agricultural/consumer bioproducts. I am the editor of the book “Structure Formation in Polymeric Fibers” and, in addition to more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters, I have 11 issued US patents, and several international patents. I am a Chartered Physicist (UK), and I am the recipient of the Fiber Society Award for Distinguished Achievement in Fiber Science and the 2021 South Dakota Economic Development Award. I teach the core Nanoscience and nanoengineering graduate course in Nano Materials, as well as undergraduate courses in polymer processing and composites manufacturing.



Frequently Asked Questions

We understand there are many questions you may have in regards to BioWRAP. Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions that we receive.

The long-term goal is to create a locally-sourced, customizable, spray-on biopolymer-based films to serve as soil cover that can be synchronized to crop growth cycles under differing climatic conditions and applied using precision agricultural equipment. The system would also support socioeconomic resiliency, positive bioeconomic cycles, biotechnology adoption, sustainable crop production, and soil health in EPSCoR states.

Transforming biopolymers into a local material will equitably distribute the costs and benefits of biotechnology adoption by crop producers and support rural workforce development. Creating a protective, but permeable spray-on biopolymer cover will provide physical weed suppression, enable crop producers to reduce herbicide use, protect soil ecosystem diversity, effectively manage field edges, help conserve natural resources, buffer waterways from agrochemical runoff, enhance land productivity, and increase crop production resiliency.

We hypothesize that adoption of BioWRAP technology will vary by region and producer characteristics, climate conditions, soil type, and underlying preferences will lead to differential adoption across regions and cropping systems. Our team plans to assess the potential market for BioWRAP using structured group discussions in locations where producers and purchasers/retailers to gain the most accurate assessment of the market potential of biodegradable biofilm technology.

Initial testing will include corn and soybeans. Application of the product may include autonomous spray platforms as well as field scale commercial sprayers.

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