Syngenta unveiled its new crop research facility during a grand opening celebration Friday at the company's RTP Innovation Center at Research Triangle Park, Durham, N.C. The $72 million Advanced Crop Lab allows company researchers to simulate any agricultural climate and precisely measure plant inputs.
Housing 30 climate-controlled growth environments in all-glass greenhouses, Syngenta can simulate conditions from Iowa in one room and from Africa right next to it. This flexibility allows company researchers to focus on developing agricultural traits that optimize crop yields, use resources efficiently and resist various stresses that farmers face every day across the globe.
"Our new Advanced Crop Lab allows us to bring together components of all research where we can create environments for multiple crops from multiple regions — simultaneously," said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of biotechnology for Syngenta. "Individual controls of temperature, light and carbon dioxide levels, as well as humidity control in many growth chambers, provide tailored environments that allow our talented researchers to work on specific grower challenges."
Design elements of the new facility include insulated glass walls that provide a virtually shadowless indoor environment, a liquid "fertigation" system to feed and water the plants and an automated roof-washing system.
The 136,000-square-foot facility is located within the 50-acre Syngenta RTP Innovation Center. Construction began in 2011 and was performed by nearly 300 local contractors, requiring roughly 500,000 man-hours to complete. Syngenta added 15 highly-skilled jobs to its existing RTP workforce.