New lab offers state of the art research on bugs and pests

When the new University of Maine Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Laboratory in Orono opens later this month, it will be among the most biosecure, technologically cutting edge and scientifically advanced laboratories in the state.

That’s a far cry from the cramped and outdated quarters the plant and animal Extension researchers and faculty currently call home.

Four lab areas under one roof

Funded by an $8 million state bond passed in 2014 and $2.1 million share of a $7 million bond approved in 2017, the 28,000-square-foot facility brings together laboratories and research space for plant and pest management and veterinary diagnostics.

“What we have done is brought together four different diagnostic areas,” said John Rebar, executive director of University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “In this one facility there is an insect lab, a plant diagnostics lab, our veterinary diagnostic lab and the aquatic animal lab. This is a facility unlike any in the world that represents a significant upgrade in equipment, capacity and biosecurity.”

Workers were still putting the finishing touches on parts of the facility this past week and the air smelled heavily of new paint and fresh concrete, but Rebar said the building will be ready for the June 21 grand opening.

The Fiddlehead Focus/St. John Valley Times is pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “New lab offers state of the art research on bugs and pests,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Julia Bayly, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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