Syngenta is constructing a new state-of-the-art biotechnology research facility next door to its existing research campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The company announced the new $71 million investment on May 20.
The new facility will concentrate on discovering and developing new agronomic traits, "to bring innovative solutions to growers across the world," said the company press release.
"This investment demonstrates our commitment to R&D and to remain at the forefront of plant genetics research," says Sandro Aruffo, Syngenta head of research and development. "The advanced technologies that will be implemented at this site will accelerate our R&D efforts to develop agronomic traits that will enable crops to better withstand complex environmental challenges."
The new facility will measure 147,000 square feet. Its all-glass, climate-controlled greenhouses will offer complete control of multiple growth variables, including water, nutrients, light and atmospheric gases and will allow the company to produce plants that "will help farmers grow more from less."
The company says the research at the new site will focus on traits that can better tolerate climate variability, combat plant stresses such as drought and enhance crop productivity and plant performance. The company currently focuses on corn and soybean but the new research will be expanded to incorporate other crops such as sugar cane, cereals, rice and vegetables.
The facility will feature research laboratories and sophisticated grown environments, including climate-controlled greenhouses and precision growth chambers. It is expected to be fully operational in the second half of 2012.
"We're very excited about the capabilities this new facility will enable," said Michel van Lookeren Campagne, president of Syngenta Biotechnology. "These sophisticated growth environments will help our researchers study traits with greater precision and efficiency, ultimately leading to discoveries that will enhance plant productivity."
Utilizing the new growth environments, scientists will isolate environmental elements in order to study their effects on specific agronomic traits, focusing on improving crop yields by combating plant stresses such as drought and insect pressures.
"Biotechnology is a sector that did not exist a century ago but is today a major driver for many national and regional economies, including North Carolina's," Gov. Bev. Perdue said. "We can only compete in this kind of high tech industry by continuing to invest in our people – and that means protecting our public education system must be our top priority. Syngenta picked North Carolina in part because they know we can produce highly skilled, well educated workers."
Syngenta has been operating in RTP for more than 25 years and the community here has been very supportive of Syngenta and its employees," continued van Lookeren Campagne. "Through our employees; enthusiastic support of Syngenta's community outreach initiatives, we've grown to become an integrated member of this vibrant region."
As Syngenta's leader, van Lookeren Campagne, went on to point out that North 'Carolina is a leader in agricultural technology, with close ties with academic and research institutions to provide an environment that fosters innovation.
The company recently successfully launched several new products this year, including Agrisure Viptera, Agrisure Artesian and Enogen.
For more information about the company, visit www.syngenta.com.