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Agricultural Biotechnology tour with Maria Rita
 
 
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Seminis
The Mogno family is full of scientists and engineers. Maria Rita, Ilaria's aunt, is an agricultural scientist that develops higher yielding, tastier vegetables.

She gave us a tour of her company's greenhouses and labs
 
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where they were all ready for
 
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Christmas.
 
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They use these color cards to
 
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catch and count insects.
 
Maria Rita and Ilaria
Maria Rita has a pretty cool job, because she's not stuck in an office all day. You go out in the fields, run different experiments, and bred different plants.
 
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They have many different greenhouses.
 
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Most of them contained
 
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tomatoes,
 
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but they also had lettuce
 
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and peppers.

Something I learned on this trip: almost all peppers start out green, if you let them rippen longer you get the colored bell peppers.
 
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I also learned that virtually all tomatoes are grown in very controlled greenhouses now (the Netherlands is particularly good at this), where they control every detail of the environment from temperature to the CO2 levels. Apparently US farmers are behind-the-times for the most part with their greenhouses and even grow large numbers of tomatoes outside.

I've always heard growing things outside tasted better, but Italy does have tastier tomatoes than we have here.
 
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Before heading home, we checked out their conference room, which like their lab was quite sparse compared to what we're used to seeing in US academic labs.

As a science nerd, it was a fun trip to see how a different type of scientist (a industrial agricultural scientist) does their job.