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June 20, 2016

Phytotron facelift facilitates cutting-edge research on plants

This 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.

Credit: National Science Foundation

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