Local News

Oxford Facility Looks At Health Benefits From Tobacco

Posted February 24, 2005

— With a buyout, a possible state cigarette tax increase and rising health concerns, some farmers are swearing off tobacco as a way to make a living, but a research station in Oxford puts tobacco in a different perspective.

"Some researchers are trying to get protein out of tobacco that can be used in pharmaceuticals," research technician Ted Woodleaf said.

Tobacco plants from all over the world are studied in Woodleaf's greenhouse from diseases to reproduction.

"We get pollen from one plant on the artist's brush, then we will go to another plant and then insert that pollen on the stigma of another plant," Woodleaf said.

The flue-cured tobacco stalks are kept disease-free year-round in the name of research.

The research has been going on at the Oxford facility for 93 years, but things are about to change. The federal government hands over ownership of the facility to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture on March 18.

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