mobile containment greenhouse/laboratory enables scientists to study new pest
invaders right at the sites where they are discovered.
USDA Mobile Lab Helps Contain Exotic Pests
Flores March 17, 2005
FORT PIERCE, Fla., Mar. 17A new
U.S. Department of Agriculture mobile
biocontainment laboratory that will allow scientists to work more safely with
invasive species and other agricultural threats was unveiled here today at the
U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory (USHRL).
"This mobile unit will allow USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) to continue
cooperative efforts to protect American agriculture from a variety of pests and
diseases," said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling. "It's another example of
the strong partnership between the two agencies, which have previously
partnered in efforts to control fire ants, detect bovine spongiform
encephalopathy, and eradicate screwworms and fruit flies."
The event at USHRL was hosted by ARS and APHIS. APHIS is responsible
for protecting and promoting U.S. animal and plant health, administering the
Animal Welfare Act, and carrying out wildlife damage management activities. ARS
is a scientific research agency. Representatives of the
Florida Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services' Division of
Plant Industry, the University of
Florida, and the Florida citrus industry joined USDA officials for today's
The innovative greenhouse lab was designed and developed by ARS plant
R. Gottwald at USHRL, in collaboration with APHIS plant pathologist Paul E.
Parker, director of the Mission Plant Protection Center in Mission, Texas.
Gottwald and retired ARS plant pathologist Steve Garnsey designed and built the
prototype lab, which has been used for the past decade to study citrus canker
and other plant diseases. Construction and final outfitting of the new Mobile
Containment Greenhouse/Laboratory were funded by APHIS and overseen by Parker
at the lab in Mission.
The 48-foot-long lab has a computer-controlled greenhouse and
laboratory that are sealed off from the outside. Built on a trailer-type
chassis, the lab can be moved to different locations as needed.
In addition to tours of the mobile lab and presentations by Gottwald
and Parker, today's event also included demonstrations of a new wind tunnel
created by USHRL scientists for studies of citrus canker bacterial dispersal
and infection. The tunnel can generate a full range of winds, from gentle
breezes to hurricane velocity.