BDN reports on Cooperative Extension’s new lab

The Bangor Daily News reported on the new University of Maine Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Laboratory, and quoted two Extension employees. The 28,000 square foot facility, funded by an $8 million 2014 state bond and a $2.1 million share of a $7 million 2017 bond, will host lab spaces for plant and veterinary diagnostics, an insect lab and an aquatic animal lab, and “will be among the most biosecure, technologically cutting edge and scientifically advanced laboratories in the state,” according to the BDN. These labs will fill 21,000 square feet and the Cooperative Extension plans to lease the rest of the space to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Association. There will be a tour of the lab open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 22 for the facility’s grand opening. After that, members of the public will be able to access the entryway to bring in plant or insect samples for diagnosis, but will not be able to enter the rest of the biosecure facility, according to the article. “Samples can be quarantined, disinfected or killed as needed. The emphasis is nothing leaves here alive — this is about determining what the pest or disease is and best to manage it,” said John Rebar, the executive director of the Cooperative Extension. “We will be able to identify pests and bacteria down to the species,” said Alicyn Smart, plant pathologist and an assistant Extension professor. “This is very important for research and to farmers who need to know if they are seeing new species or ‘races’ of pests and diseases in the state and how to deal with them.” The new facility will allow for even more accurate diagnoses and outreach for the entire state. “It’s like we are going from horse and buggy technology to the space shuttle. This is a real game changer for what we can do for Maine,” said Rebar. Mainebiz also reported on the lab, and The County carried the BDN report.