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New micropropagation lab to produce up to 24 million plants a year

May 6, 2024, marked the grand opening of VitroLeaf by Battistini, the new micropropagation laboratory of Battistini Nurseries, situated in Cesena. "A facility," according to a company statement, "that stands as the largest commercial laboratory in Europe, paving the way for a more innovative and forward-looking agriculture. The company is also celebrating its 75th year in operation this year."

Battistini Nurseries annually exports its plants worldwide, from Portugal to Georgia, with recent emphasis on countries in the Asian region: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, as well as Azerbaijan and India.

The exterior of the new laboratory.

Giuliano Dradi, General Manager, states: "We have made significant investments in technology by collaborating with our suppliers to design specific technologies tailored to our needs. However, the machines do not replace the work of our staff; instead, they assist them in mechanical operations and tasks at heights, thereby enhancing workplace safety. Once we achieve production stability, we intend to expand our workforce by at least ten individuals."

Director Giuliano Dradi.

"We are looking at a state-of-the-art, high-tech facility meticulously designed to achieve high productivity and efficiency, with the aim of producing 24 million plants in the next 5 years. The facility comprises an office area, a conference room (intended for hosting entities and universities from around the world), staff amenities, as well as production areas for plant preparation and growth," Dradi specifies.

The most innovative feature is undoubtedly the VitroLeaf Tower: an in vitro culture room, inaccessible to staff and fully automated, standing 8 meters tall and 67 meters long. It can accommodate up to 3.5 million seedlings in cultivation.

It is equipped with 22 vertical levels, illuminated by LED lights to ensure plant development following a 16-hour light and 8-hour dark photoperiod, mimicking the natural day-night cycle. In addition to light, temperature, humidity, and air flow are monitored, and the environment is constantly checked for health and virus-free conditions.

There are currently about forty active hood stations in the new laboratory.

In the new facility, storage tanks for both rainwater and process wastewater have been installed, along with a phytoremediation system that employs the principle of self-purification through specific interactions between soil, bacteria, and plants.

The structure is adorned with 262 photovoltaic panels that generate most of the energy required for production operations. Additionally, high-efficiency energy systems controlled by home automation have been installed to attain maximum performance, with consumption constantly monitored.

Battistini Nurseries: Deeply Rooted
Battistini Nurseries was established in Cesena in 1949 by brothers Sebastiano and Domenico Battistini. Since 2012, Giuliano Dradi, previously a researcher and director of the first micropropagation laboratory, has been the general manager. Under his leadership, the company has experienced significant growth, with over 60% of its turnover coming from international markets and an annual production of 12 million plants.

Sebastiano and Domenico Battistini.

The most produced species by the company are mainly fruit trees: cherries, peaches, apricots, and rootstocks, but also small fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries.

Battistini Nurseries employs 170 collaborators involved in all stages of production, producing 12 million micropropagated plants every year. Its products reach over 40 countries worldwide. The nursery spans 115 hectares across the provinces of Forlì-Cesena and Ravenna, with 10,000 square meters of covered greenhouses and 30,000 square meters of shaded areas.

Battistini Nurseries will be at Macfrut from May 8 to 10 (Hall A1 – 198).

For more information
Battistini Nurseries
Via Ravennate, 1500
47522 Cesena (FC) - Italy
Tel.: +39 0547.380545
Email: [email protected]