Nov. 15, 2019
Today, leaders from the University of Missouri, the University of Missouri System and the city of Columbia celebrated the opening of the new East Campus Plant Growth Facility with a ribbon-cutting. The state-of-the-art facility houses research greenhouses and cutting-edge, controlled-environment plant growth chambers.
MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright, UM System President Mun Choi and Columbia Mayor Brian Treece were on hand to provide remarks and participate in the ribbon-cutting, along with Bob Sharp, the director of MU’s Interdisciplinary Plant Group.
“I’m thrilled to mark the opening of a facility that will allow our researchers to explore innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing agricultural challenges,” Cartwright said. “With the advanced research capabilities this facility brings, MU scholars will continue to discover new ways to improve food production and agriculture overall for the state of Missouri and beyond.”
At a time when about 11% of the world’s population goes hungry each year, researchers from MU’s colleges of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Arts and Science, and Engineering intend to use the facility’s more than 41,000 square feet to conduct plant research addressing issues such as global hunger and drought.
In addition to dedicated rooms for efficient processing and storage of plants collected from the field or one of the facility’s many greenhouses, the facility also features some of the tallest plant growth chambers in the world that allow corn to grow to its full 12-foot height. From droughts to monsoons, the chambers enable researchers to simulate climate conditions from all over the world to study their impacts on crops.
“This facility is an incredible example of MU’s collaborative approach to groundbreaking research,” Choi said. “With cutting-edge tools and spaces at their disposal, researchers from several divisions on campus will work together to address global challenges and benefit Missouri’s agricultural economy. Here is yet another demonstration of the UM System’s commitment to making a positive impact on society through research.”
Built in less than two years, the facility is designed to provide researchers with maximum flexibility and efficiency, and it boasts some greenhouses that stand more than 21 feet tall. It is located at 1140 E. Campus Drive near the Animal Sciences Research Center.