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Texas Tech ready to unveil new biotechnology-ready greenhouse

image image Officials with Texas Tech University’s Department of Plant and Soil Science are set to unveil a new biotechnology-ready greenhouse at the school’s Quaker Avenue Research Farm, northeast of the main campus. Construction on $300,000 facility began in June and is scheduled to wrap up in early September.

“The new greenhouse will support our department’s fast-growing research and teaching programs in plant genetics, genomics, and biotechnology,” said Thomas Thompson, chairman of the Department of Plant and Soil Science. “With more than 2,000 square-feet of usable space, it’s equipped for the evaluation of experimental transgenic or genetically modified plants.”

State-of-the-Art. The building will have a state-of-the-art climate control, irrigation and shading systems, as well as being equipped to minimize insect entry and reduce drainage in order to reduce passage of plant pollen in or out of the new greenhouse, Thompson said. Funding for the project was provided by Texas Tech and two private partners.

Tech’s department of Department of Plant and Soil Science is home to several cutting edge scientific programs, including one that is attempting to unlock the secrets of the region’s king cash crop. Tech cotton genome researcher Thea Wilkins is working on mapping the genomes of two breeds of cotton plant, ancestor plants to the modern version that blankets the Lubbock region.

Performance Testing. The Quaker Research Farm has 120 acres of irrigated crop land used for evaluating characteristics and performance of various crops. In addition to turfgrass research, Tech scientists conduct research on cotton and an assortment of other crops such as tomatoes, onions, guar, corn, peanuts, and wildflowers. Caster, canola, soybean, mustard, and safflower are also researched on the farm because of their biodiesel capabilities.

Written by Norman Martin

CONTACT: Thomas Thompson, Chairman, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2838 or thomas.thompson@ttu.edu

 

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