Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is commissioning a new leading international research and education center. Serre Red is located on the WUR campus and is unique due to its size and security measures. The establishment is only accessible under strict conditions. Now, thanks to a 360-degree virtual tour, everyone can take a look and get to know the Serre Red researchers and their experiments.
Greenhouse Red is an “all-electric” greenhouse complex from Unifarm (part of the Wageningen Plant Sciences Group) which is used for educational and basic research purposes on plant diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi. , among others, and for research on genetically modified plants with the highest level of safety.
“Plant diseases are a major threat to our food security; at the same time, due to population growth, we see that agriculture will have to produce much more in the coming decades. We want to achieve this in a way that keeps our planet habitable and stops the loss of biodiversity. This challenge can only be solved through extensive research and education at the highest level. With Serre Red, we make this possible within WUR, ”says Ernst van den Ende, Group Director Plant Sciences at WUR.
One of a kind
What makes Serre Red unique in the world is its size (4000 m2 of greenhouses), the partitioning of the complex and the high level of research, both in disease detection (quarantine level) and in genetic modification (level 3). Thus, each of the 63 compartments (ranging from 15 to 52 m2) meets the highest safety requirements. They are all equipped with individual air conditioning, air filtration and access locks. Most of the technical equipment is installed in the cellars under the complex to optimize the incidence of light and avoid shadows.
Other features include LED lighting, insulated double glazing, screening, hot and cold storage, and autoclaves, which sterilize materials leaving the greenhouse, such as waste and water. Due to the high quality insulation and waterproofing, all compartments in the complex can be used side by side for different lines of research without the studies influencing each other.
Virtual reality tour
Construction on Serre Red began in early 2019. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was decided not to officially open Serre Red but to do a VR tour in which WUR employees can present their research to Serre Red. .
Petra van Bekkum, Ilse Houwers and Peter Bonants talk about research into pest quarantine pests on plants that are limited or not (yet) present in the Netherlands, which poses a threat to the international trade in horticultural crops.
Yuling Bai talks about making tomato plants more resistant to pathogenic bacteria through genetic modification. For this, precision CRISPR-Cas technology is used, which can, for example, be used to turn specific genes on and off.
Harold Meijer guides visitors through researching old banana varieties for genes that could be useful in the development of new banana varieties resistant to the devastating banana diseases, Black Sigkota disease and Panama disease.
Take the VR tour here.
For more information:
Wageningen University and Research