While sustainable funding remains an ongoing challenge, scientists at the Kentucky Tobacco Research and Development Center continue to investigate ways to help the state’s burley growers.
The Kentucky Tobacco Research Board approved a $2 million dollar budget earlier this week. Center Director Ling Yuan said one area of research focuses on developing a tobacco plant where oil is contained in leaves. “We’re able to redirect the oil machinery into the leaves then let the leaves accumulate a large amount of oil, so the oil can be used for either biofuel or some other industrial application or nutritional application,” said Yuan.
Yuan said work continues on growing plants to fight the Malaria disease. The center, located at the University of Kentucky, receives a half-cent in funding from every pack of cigarettes sold in the state. With declining consumption Yuan says that stream of revenue has been diminishing. He says the newly approved budget is in line with the current budget, partly due to grants from the Food and Drug Administration.
Here's an extended interview with KTRDC Director Ling Yuan:
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