Jorge Luis Juárez Perez
In order to innovate and improve the cultivation of sugarcane, in 1994 Engineer Jorge Juárez, Magdalena Research Manager, began with a process of heat treatment for sugarcane seeds, in order to find a sanitation system for these.
In 1996, Bachelor Yolanda Toledo de Leal, Engineer Luis Pedro Escaler and Engineer Jorge Juárez decided to create a Meristems culture laboratory for sugarcane seed reproduction.
In 1997, plant reproduction is formally begun through meristems with an installed capacity of 400,000 plants per year. The objectives of this laboratory were; plant production of disease-free plants for the establishment of basic seedbed, varietal purity, accelerated production of new varieties, and the introduction of new varieties through this technique.
In 2008, the production of entomopathogenic fungi begins in the Magdalena Laboratory. Entomopathogenic fungi are biological organisms capable of controlling insect pests in different crops. Its objective was to have a production unit of biological organisms to contribute to comprehensive pest and/or disease management that usually interferes with the sugarcane crop in Magdalena.
In the same year, the Meristems laboratory expands and moves to a new infrastructure to produce 2,500,000 plants and this makes it a biofactory for reproduction of various plants through the vitro multiplication or micro propagation technique. In recognition of the invaluable contribution that Engineer Juarez gave to this initiative, in the year 2010, the research center was given the name of Jorge Luis Juárez Perez
In the last years, the Biofactory diversified its activities for the production of ornamental plants, forestry and vegetables. It has a greenhouse where appropriate treatment is given for the formation of sugarcane billets and other plants that are produced in Magdalena.
The process for the formation of the sugarcane billets is carried out in an approximate time of 75 days, in the first 15 days; The seedlings adapt and form their roots within a semi automated greenhouse with an average temperature of 26 to 28°C in an average relative humidity of 70-80%.
It has a light screen that allows decreasing the temperature inside the greenhouse and decreases the radiation getting between 8,000 to 10,000 lux, taking advantage of the maximum light intensity in the first and last hours of the day, and as a result increases the growth and quality of the billets that grow.
After the first 15 days, the billets are moved to an acclimatization area where they are exposed to direct sunlight. In this area a nutrition plan is managed, as well as pest and disease management. As the average time of billet formation elapses, (approximately 2.5 months), these are taken to the field to establish basic plantbeds in the definitive field.
The Magdalena Greenhouse currently has an inventory of 50,000 orchids- this reproduction began 8 years ago. The plants are in the semi automated greenhouse with an average temperature of 26-28°C and a relative humidity of 70-90%. Eight different types of orchids have been produced: Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium, Trichocentrum, Vandas, Oncidium, Cymbidium, Lycaste and Cattleyas; the onew most produced are Phalaenopsis and Dendrobium.
Orchids are cultivated in pots using a substrate with good moisture retention and good drainage. The components in the substrate mixture are: pine bark, pumice stone and coconut rind. It is important that the particle size of the medium is homogeneous for good root development. When the orchids are transplanted, the substrate is disinfected, as well as the flowerpot.
There are also different types of ornamental plants in the greenhouse, such as: Anthuriums, Sphatiphyllum and ferns, these plants are also propagated by tissue culture within the biofactory. The greenhouse currently has about 20,000 different plants.