Construction continues on Innovation Campus

Amy Poppinga

Amy Poppinga

Officials broke ground for a $6.5 million Seed Technology Laboratory on April 24 at the Innovation Campus.

Speakers at the event said the seed lab has been 10 years in the making. But as Laird Larson said, like a seed, the right conditions had to be met before the project could be fruitful.

“Ten years to develop sounds like a dormancy issue to me, but you can be assured a great thing was waiting,” said Larson, a commissioner with the South Dakota Wheat Commission.

The Seed Technology Laboratory is expected to open by July 2010. The building – the second added to the Innovation Campus – will feature nine labs, three seed service programs and five research programs charged with examining issues like crop quality, plant stressors, cellulosic content for ethanol and oil content for human nutrition.

“[The Seed Technology Laboratory] really gives us more modern facilities and a great increase in greenhouse space, which is a true limitation right now,” said Sue Blodgett, head of the Plant Science Department.

The new building merges the location of many labs and services that were previously scattered around campus. The South Dakota Crop Improvement Association, the SDSU Seed Testing Lab, the Seed Certification Service, the Crop Quality Lab and molecular biology/genomics and biocontainment labs will all be housed in the same building.

“By locating those together, there is more opportunity for collaboration,” she said.

Brent Turnipseed, an associate professor and manager of the SDSU Seed Testing Lab, said that access to other labs could increase testing capabilities, as researchers share equipment and knowledge. In addition, the new location at the Innovation Campus, a research park, could open opportunities to partner with the private sector.

“[The Seed Technology Laboratory] will bring additional recognition and an opportunity to attract some companies that are looking to partner with the university in research areas.”

Currently, the SDSU Seed Testing Lab does a wide array of research, such as exploring how best to test prairie cordgrass in a lab environment. Turnipseed said the new lab could expand research to the genetic level.

“We have a potential to expand in DNA and genomics research. There will be researchers out [at the Seed Technology Laboratory] that will have the equipment and knowledge for that testing,” he said.

To make the Seed Technology Laboratory possible, SDSU partnered with several groups representing all the major commodity groups in South Dakota.

Partners for the project include: the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council; South Dakota Crop Improvement Association; South Dakota Foundation Seed Stocks Division; South Dakota Oilseeds Council; South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council; South Dakota Wheat Commission; Hansmeier & Son, Inc., of Bristol; Legend Seeds of DeSmet; Millborn Seeds, Inc., of Brookings; and Moeckly Seed of Britton.

The state of South Dakota also invested money to support the Governor’s 2010 Research Center for Drought Tolerance Biotechnology, which the new building will partly house.

Through its partnerships with the South Dakota seed industries and its dedication to agriculture, President David Chicoine said SDSU could make an impact on the state through the research in the Seed Technology Laboratory.

“We can create a more prosperous future – a more prosperous South Dakota, and we can make a difference.”

#1.881630:1195275520.jpg:Monsanto.Illustration.jpg:The Seed Technology Laboratory, pictured above, will research numerous issues surrounding seeds, including drought resistance.: