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More About the Jacob Shur Facility

shur facility greenhouseThe Jacob Shur Research Facility consists of a state-of-the-art tissue culture laboratory and three large greenhouses where faculty and other scientists use advanced tissue-culture techniques to develop plant varieties for Maine’s climate and soil conditions and conduct other agricultural research. Tissue culture allows disease-free propagation of genetically identical plants and is much faster than traditional breeding programs. Tissue culture can accomplish in weeks that which could take years to achieve in traditional plant breeding, allowing new varieties to be rapidly channeled into commercial use. The Shur facility provides laboratory and greenhouse space that allows for propagation of up to a million plants and adds significant new capabilities for UMaine researchers to better meet the needs of Maine’s agricultural and horticultural industries. The facility includes 6,000 sq. ft. of laboratory and growth room space, 2,500 sq. ft. of ventilated storage, 11,000 sq. ft. of space for equipment and supplies, and 13,000 sq. ft. of double poly greenhouses with rolling benches, boom irrigation, heat, and ventilation. The Jacob Shur Research Facility is a laboratory of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station and part of the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) out of Beltsville, Maryland, uses the Shur facility for tissue culture work that is an important part of their potato research program centered in Presque Isle. The Shur facility is also used by commercial potato growers for tissue culture work in conjunction with the University of Maine’s Department of Industrial Cooperation.

History of Jacob Shur Research Facility

The Jacob Shur Research Facility, the University of Maine’s plant breeding and propagation facility in Crystal, Maine, was built in 1992 for the propagation of disease–free potato seed. It was owned and operated by the S & R Corporation. The laboratory and three greenhouses were built to specifications provided by NatureMark, a subsidiary of the Monsanto company, which leased the facility from 1993 to 1999. The laboratory, greenhouses, and field plots were used to propagate commercial seed stocks. Monsanto ended its program in 1999, and the facility was donated to the University of Maine Foundation in 2003 for use by the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station by Island Falls potato grower Arthur Shur in memory of his father, Jacob Shur. The formal dedication of the facility took place June 24, 2004.