Gene A Giacomelli
Professor, Agricultural-Biosystems Engineering
Professor, Applied BioSciences - GIDP
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Plant Science
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 626-9566
Work Summary
Gene Giacmomelli's research focus includes controlled environment plant productions systems [greenhouse and growth chamber] research, design, development and applications, with emphases on: crop production systems, nutrient delivery systems, environmental control, mechanization, and labor productivity.
Research Interest
Gene Giacomelli, PhD, is the director of the CEAC, or interdisciplinary education, research and outreach program for greenhouse and other advanced technology systems. Here at the University of Arizona, he teaches Controlled Environment Systems, which is an introduction to the technical aspects of greenhouse design, environmental control, nutrient delivery systems, hydroponic crop production, intensive field production systems, and post-harvest handling and storage of crops. His research interests include controlled environment plant productions systems (greenhouse and growth chamber) research, design, development and applications, with emphases on: crop production systems, nutrient delivery systems, environmental control, mechanization, and labor productivity.


Giacomelli, G. A., & Krass, A. E. (1985). GREENHOUSE FOG EVAPORATIVE COOLING USING A MOVABLE BOOM.. Paper - American Society of Agricultural Engineers.


An evaporative cooling system was designed and evaluated. The system utilized high pressure fog nozzles mounted on a movable frame which travelled the width of a greenhouse bay. The system effectiveness (measured as absolute cooling and spatial temperature uniformity) as influenced by the spraying rate, the rate of frame movement and the greenhouse volume air change rate was determined. Effectiveness values ranged from 50 to 70% with instantaneous temperature reductions as large as 9 degree C.

Giniger, M. S., Stine, C. B., Giacomelli, G. A., & Mears, D. R. (1985). MICROCOMPUTER CONTROL OF GREENHOUSES. I. DEVELOPING CONTROL STRATEGIES FOR A LARGE THERMAL MASS.. Paper - American Society of Agricultural Engineers.


Work is underway to maximize the use of a warm floor heating system as the primary greenhouse heating source. To date, simple thermostats control the floor temperature which can lead to an undesirable climate for plant growth. Because of the large thermal inertia of the system, temperature changes of the floor for a given heat input are relatively slow. Initial research has yielded equations which describe the temperature response of the floor to constant heat inputs. These equations incorporated into existing computer software offer improved overall greenhouse temperature control. Results from simulation studies and measured data indicate that classical control strategies will be effective in maintaining optimum climates for plant growth.

Pagliarulo, C. L., Hayden, A. L., & Giacomelli, G. A. (2004). Potential for greenhouse aeroponic cultivation of urtica dioica. Acta Horticulturae, 659, 61-66.


Resent studies investigating aeroponic cultivation of medicinal plants have provided encouraging results for increasing yields, shortening time to maturity, and improving consistency and overall quality of produce over field production. The goal of the current study was to determine the applicability of aeroponic technology for the cultivation of the traditionally field grown herbaceous medicinal plant Urtica dioica. In addition, we investigated if control of nutrient delivery and repeated harvesting practices could be utilized to increase and direct yield of desired plant parts. Comparison of root and shoot dry weights between treatments revealed; (1) U. dioica cultivated in soil-less medium yielded equal shoot biomass and greater root biomass than aeroponically cultivated plants, (2) potassium and phosphorus ratios within the nutrient solution had no significant impact on yield or biomass allocation, and (3) multiple harvesting of aeroponic roots and shoots yielded greater total biomass of both roots and shoots than a multi-crop replanting strategy. Results suggest aeroponic technology could be a powerful tool for the cultivation U. dioica as well as a variety of other important herbaceous medicinal plants. However, further optimization of the plant growing environment is required to maximize and direct growth.

Ting, K. C., Giacomelli, G. A., Shen, S. J., & Kabala, W. P. (1990). Robot workcell for transplanting of seedlings. Part II. End-effector development. Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 33(3), 1013-1017.


The successful integration of a robot with seedling transplanting requires an operational end-effector. Two types of grippers were designed in this study for seedling picking, holding, and planting during robotic transplanting. They were called 'Swinging Needles' and 'Sliding Needles', respectively. The Sliding Needles gripper was found to be functionally superior to the Swinging Needles for seedling transplanting. Further study was done to incorporate a seedling sensing capability to the Sliding Needles gripper. A capacitive proximity sensor was selected and its sensing capability tested on plant materials. The sensor was found to have satisfactory performance in terms of detecting seedlings held by the gripper. The sensor and the gripper were then integrated to become a final end-effector design called 'Sliding Needles with Sensor'. A prototype of the final design version was tested. The gripper was adaptable to a wide range of seedling sizes and shapes. The sensor on the gripper assured that the growing flats were transplanted, with seedlings of satisfactory quality.

Ting, K. C., Chao, K., & Giacomelli, G. A. (1997). Systems studies of NJ-NSCORT for BLSS: An overview. SAE Technical Papers.


The New Jersey NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training (NJ-NSCORT) for Bioregenerative Life Support Systems (BLSS) was established at Rutgers University, with participation from Stevens Institute of Technology, in May 1996. Four research teams including Biomass Production, Food Processing and Nutrition, Waste Processing, and Systems Studies and Modeling were assembled to study issues related to human life support associated with long duration space missions. Each team is conducting a number of projects that address specific problems to the design of BLSS. The current tasks of the Systems Studies and Modeling (SSM) team are: to establish communications among NJ-NSCORT research teams, to develop system analysis methodologies, to develop hybrid fundamental/empirical models for individual subsystems of a BLSS, and to develop functional modules to manipulate information related to BLSS. For the systems studies part of SSM team, an integrated automation-culture-environment analysis cyber environment (acesys) is being developed to facilitate the study of BLSS. Preliminary study has been conducted to identify the key components of this systems analysis environment. The acesys consists of an input mechanism for project information, a set of databases for storing information (informational modules), a display capability for data presentation, a discussion forum, and a collection of applets for processing information (functional modules). This paper provides an overview on the development of acesys system analysis methodologies and hardware/software configurations for implementing acesys on the internet. © Copyright 1997 Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc.