Plant and Soil Sciences Student Spotlight: Luke Muller
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
STILLWATER, Okla. – Luke Muller is a plant and soil sciences and agricultural business senior from Altus, Oklahoma. Muller completed research in Kenya and is the current student body vice president.
Muller grew up in a small farming community in Southwestern Oklahoma. He came to Oklahoma State University to deepen his knowledge of technology used in agriculture and develop a business sense to help run his family farm.
From a young age, Muller knew he wanted to attend OSU.
“My dad, grandpa and sister all attended Oklahoma State University,” Muller said. “I just knew I wanted to be a Cowboy.”
Muller was elected the 2020-2021 student body vice president in the Spring 2020 semester. His duties consist of helping in the search for a new president of the university, while organizing a food pantry for students on campus.
Upon the completion of graduation, Muller plans to pursue a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics with an emphasis in International Development.
Funded by the National Science Foundation, Muller began his undergraduate research to combat international food security in Kenya. He plans to further his plans of ending world hunger.
“I spent three months in Kenya, Africa,” Muller said. “I worked with Egerton University to find the correct sorghum type for their regional climate.”
Egerton University is the oldest establishment for higher education in Kenya[EJ1] , and has nearly 19,000 students enrolled per semester since 2016.
Muller went through extensive training in Washington D.C. and Maryland before departing on his journey.
He chose sorghum due to its ability to withstand high stress caused by climate. Upon Muller’s arrival, he found the local species of sorghum contained high levels of prussic acid.
“Prussic acid hinders oxygen used by the animal at the cellular level resulting in asphyxiation,” Muller said.
Muller planted and harvested plots in two different locations. Upon harvesting, Muller studied lignin and cellulose levels to find the best fits for the region.
He conducted research alongside local sorghum specialists in Kenya.
Muller’s research allowed for his work to be published in a national journal – the Journal of Agricultural Sciences and Technology with the article titled “Evaluation of Potential Fodder Sorghum Genotypes for Prussic Acid, Lignin and Cellulose.”
“My favorite part of the Kenya research experience was the interaction with the locals,” Muller said. “It was a step-in combating food insecurity.” [EJ1]
Editor: Molly Faught, Oklahoma State University Agricultural Communications Writing Center