“The eight professors at this center are world-class scientists who do significant research here, known both nationally and internationally,” said Dr. Steven Tallant, president of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

He cited various areas of ongoing research at the center including identifying and developing strategies for several serious diseases and pests, solving post-harvest problems, the development of new pesticide registrations, molecular biology, investigations of genetic disease and cold tolerance, and researching the role citrus compounds can play in preventing human diseases.

“This new building is symbolic of where we’re going scientifically for the people of Texas,” he said.

“This facility is a gem in our educational system of Texas,” said state Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville.

“Battling diseases, improving orchard production, developing new citrus varieties and all the first-class research that goes on here helps the Texas citrus industry compete with China, Florida, California and all the other citrus-producing regions of the world,” he said

Lucio also cited the center’s successful efforts in creating and managing the state mandatory virus-free budwood certification program for nurseries throughout Texas, both commercial and homeowner.