The National Conservation Commission (NCC) now has the capacity to produce between 40,000 and 50,000 plants a year, through its new Tissue Culture Lab.

This new $65,000 facility was launched at the NCC???s Codrington, St. Michael, headquarters today, as a part of Arbor Day celebrations under the theme: Trees – the Circle of Life.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Edison Alleyne, said the 320 square feet facility would focus on cloning plant species, including anthuriums, orchids, gerbers, ginger lilies, bananas, helliconias, yams, mandevillas, sugar cane and African violets.

???Plant tissue culture is a collection of techniques used to maintain or grow plant cells or tissues under sterile conditions on a nutrient culture medium,??? Mr. Alleyne explained.

He added that it involved the growing of plants in an artificial medium under sterile conditions in a jar, flask or test tube. ???It starts by using plant tissue which produces exact or clones of the plant. It is commonly known as cloning or micro-propagation,??? he told those present.

The new facility located at the NCC is powered by a 2.5 KVA Solar System given to the NCC by the Ministry of Energy. It is also outfitted with all energy saving equipment, including three inverter AC units, a refrigerator and 26 four-inch LED bulbs.

Mr. Alleyne also noted that the lab would be manned by six NCC staff members from the NCC???s Plant Nursery, who were specially trained in Basing Tissue Culture.

He added that the lab would offer the NCC an opportunity to share the technology with schools, the University of the West Indies and any other entity that has an interest, as part to the island???s educational outreach programme.??Today???s celebrations were also marked with tree planting exercises across the island.

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