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June 20, 2016

Phytotron facelift facilitates cutting-edge research on plants


NC State Phytotron ready to tackle 21st century challenges of food and energy security

The laboratory is a control freak's dream come true! Welcome to the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Phytotron, a singular facility for growing plants under various combinations of strictly controlled environmental conditions. Scientists are able to conduct all types of plant research here, from studies of disease-resistant crops to drought-proof grasses to new biofuels.

The NCSU Phytotron was built in the 1960s with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and was used a decade later to help prevent a collapse in the U.S. corn crop from fungal disease. Now, after more than a generation of such research breakthroughs, the Phytotron has received additional support from NSF for a 21st century makeover. The renovations include a new Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) lab with a greenhouse that houses high security research, such as experiments with viral and bacterial pathogens.

The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #0962962, Renovation of the NCSU Phytotron for Improved Environmental Control and BSL-3 Containment. This Academic Research Infrastructure program award was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The research also was supported by award #1444503, An Integrated Genomic and Functional Analysis of the Plant Hypersensitive Response.

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Ann Kellan, Science Nation Producer


Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.