Class Today? SNAILED it!!

Wednesday we saw the entire process from jar to market of In-Vitro plants. In-Vitro is important in order to speed up the reproduction process of plants and keep up with the consumer demand. We began ou morning with a short presentation in the classroom explaining the need for and results of In-Vitro. For example, orchards used to be incredibly expensive and only royalty could have access to them because each plant can only reproduce by three plants per year. Thanks to IV, a single orchard can now be reproduced by 4 million plants a year.

Our next stop was in a lab where we go to see where the professionals cut and pace plants in jars with a substance containing all the nutrients a plant would need to grow. The jars are then taken and placed under LED lights, which prompts their growth. They sit there for 6-8 weeks. We then saw where and how these small plastic jars are shipped all across the globe in their shipping room. I was very impressed by this facility because every single part of the process here was done by hand. From cutting the plant (which makes sense, because there is a decision to be made on each plant), to creating the substance, to filling the jar, creating the labels, placing them under the lights, checking the dates on them to see which are ready, to pulling them off, and packing them. It would seem in order to run a successful business in today’s society, there would need to be some part of this that is automated. At the very least, in America there would be an electronic labeling system, and some system that keeps up with inventory and alerts you when certain trays have reached their maturity date. It seems that with labor costs, they would be losing a lot of money. I asked the manager about this, and he said labor makes up over 60% of the costs of production, and that is with the large majority being paid minimum wage. He did say he foresees a time in the future where they will have to move to barcodes, and automate parts of the cycle, which will be difficult. After that, we went to the nursery. At the nursery, they are removed from their jars, and planted into tiny pods, then nurtured. This is vital because this is the part that determines which ones will survive. They are placed in warm glass rooms at 100% humidity for various times, depending on the plant. When they are ready, they are moved out of their covered tunnels and onto regular assembly lines where they are exposed to greater sunlight and the irrigation system until they are ready to be packed and sent off to be sold.

 

Finally, we walked outside to see their beautiful garden out of the plants they have grown. It was unbelievable. The nursery is at the house of an old Duke of Poland, so even the building around it was beautiful. We also found the biggest snail I’ve ever seen in my life, and named him Larry. He’s featured here.

 

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