Peter W. Rein, Benedict, Linda F. | 4/19/2005 10:29:16 PM
The LSU AgCenter’s Audubon Sugar Institute will hold an open house at its new facility in St. Gabriel from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 31.
The $5.4 million facility, which includes a 27,000-square-foot laboratory building and 4 acres of land on River Road south of Baton Rouge, formerly was the Research and Development facility of Syngenta Crop Protection. The corporation donated the facility to the LSU AgCenter.
"This is the single largest donation ever given to the LSU AgCenter," said Dr. William B. "Bill" Richardson, chancellor of the LSU AgCenter. "This will help us expand our research in sugar processing and technology transfer. The Audubon Sugar Institute contributes to the sustainability of the sugar industry in our state."
The institute has been the center of sugar research since it was first established in the 1890s in what is now Audubon Park in New Orleans, said Dr. Peter Rein, director of the Audubon Sugar Institute.
For most of the past century, the institute had been housed in a sugar factory on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge that was built in the 1920s. That facility is being converted into other uses, Rein said.
"We were sorely in need of new space," Rein said. "We had outgrown the old factory."
Research projects at the institute focus on improving efficiency in sugar processing and discovery of value-added products from sugarcane. An example is a patented product used to control bacteria in dental equipment.
The institute also provides expertise to the 15 sugar mills in the state, offers professional development short courses in sugar technology and provides expertise and laboratory space for courses in sugar engineering through LSU’s College of Engineering.
The institute includes four full-time and one half-time faculty members.
Dignitaries from the Louisiana sugar industry and the LSU System are expected to attend the open house. Rein said. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who has been instrumental in obtaining substantial federal grant money for the institute, has committed to attend and speak at the opening ceremony.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture