January 31, 2017 By Terry Devitt | Read the full article here. 

 

A $10 million commercial biotech plant laboratory in Middleton, Wisconsin, first opened in 1982 with the help of University of Wisconsin–Madison scientists, will soon become part of UW–Madison following a donation from Monsanto Co.

The facility, a labyrinth of greenhouses and laboratories where some of plant biotechnology’s first critical steps were taken, was officially donated to UW–Madison’s University Research Park by Monsanto last month (December 2016) to become the hub of the new Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center (WCIC).

“This gift will enable us to create a plant biotechnology facility unparalleled in the public sector,” says UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean Kate VandenBosch. “We can now leverage the diverse strengths of UW–Madison’s plant science community, allowing us to more deeply explore plant gene function and to collaborate with partners around the world to improve crop traits.”

Established first as Cetus and later as Agracetus, the 100,000-square-foot facility and its plant biotechnology portfolio were acquired by Monsanto in 1996. Monsanto closed the facility in 2016 when it consolidated its research operations to the company’s St. Louis, Mo. headquarters.

The facility features 20 greenhouses encompassing 28,000 square feet, 15,000 square feet of controlled environments – shade houses and light rooms – and 50,000 square feet of high quality laboratory space on 4.5 acres. It is anticipated that researchers in the plant sciences from many corners of the UW–Madison campus – agronomy, biochemistry and botany, among others – will use the facility to help develop and improve commercially important plant stocks and methodologies.

“The University of Wisconsin has a long and distinguished history as a hub of innovative plant science research and advancing agriculture,” says Tom Adams, vice president and biotechnology lead for Monsanto. “We at Monsanto are extremely pleased that our donation of this state-of-the-art crop research facility at the university will contribute to this mission and further accelerate scientific advancements, ultimately resulting in more solutions for farmers across the world.”

– See more at: http://news.wisc.edu/monsanto-donates-middleton-plant-research-facility-to-uw-madison/#sthash.gwJ2GRwf.j3r4Cvnx.dpuf