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Jan 25, 2016 @ 11:08

IRRI opens US$10-million facility dedicated to studying climate change effects on plant growth

A group of agricultural scientists and development officials have gathered last week at the Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility (PGF) at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) compound in Los Baños, Laguna to witness the opening of the US$ 10-million state-of-the-art facility that would be dedicated to the study of climate change effects on rice development.

Since climate change has become a global concern, experts are looking at the facility’s potential to resolve the ongoing effort to achieve food and nutrition security for future generations.

Inside the facility are eight controlled-environment glasshouses, a large set of controlled-environment walk-in and reach-in plant growth chambers, plant processing and potting laboratories, and a large seed processing and storage setup.

The building now also features optimum environment-friendly management support systems that employ rainwater capture and storage, natural ventilation, and other energy-saving machineries.

Bruce Tolentino, IRRI deputy director general for communication and partnerships, said the chamber resembles “giant refrigerators, microwaves, or incubators that simulate climate (change) conditions experienced in different countries such as Philippines, Africa, Thailand and Vietnam.”

“We will know exactly how the plants react to the effects of climate change and ensure how these will continue to grow and be productive (under these conditions),” Tolentino said.

Dr. John R. Evans, son of Lloyd Evans and head of the Division of Plant Sciences, Australian National University who followed in his father’s footsteps was present during the inauguration.

“It is a great honor and a real personal thrill to be invited to the opening of this facility,” Evans said. “When my father was a board member here at IRRI, he encouraged evidence- and research-based decision making rather than gut feelings passed on in a traditional way.

PGF, he said, will primarily carry on this model as it enhances researchers’ ability to capitalize on the fantastic advances of molecular biology and genome sequencing. (By: Ched Romulo)



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