The mission of the Kentucky Tobacco Research and Development Center (KTRDC) is to utilize plant-based technologies to benefit Kentucky agriculture. The focus is on the use of science, including molecular biology, genomics, plant genetic engineering, plant breeding/field research, and other advanced technologies to improve agricultural production for the benefit of Kentucky farmers. The program focuses on applied research in support of Kentucky tobacco production, the enhancement of tobacco and other Nicotiana species as a production system for plant-based products (including pharmaceuticals and industrial materials), and for discovering new plant natural products having potential for commercialization. This includes resources devoted to research on industrial hemp including variety evaluation and production research. KTRDC facilities include field plots, laboratories, greenhouses, and contained growth facilities for plant breeding, plant analysis, disease screening and genetic engineering research. The goal is to utilize these resources to preserve and strengthen agriculture in Kentucky and, in particular, tobacco agriculture. The KTRDC program emphasizes applications-oriented research designed to facilitate the development of new crop-based businesses and technologies for Kentucky agriculture.
In addition, KTRDC has considerable resources and infrastructure dedicated to analyze tobacco and tobacco products. Much of this support comes from two Cooperative Agreements between KTRDC and the FDA totaling over $15 million. These funds have been utilized to establish the Center for Tobacco Reference Products (CTRP) within KTRDC. The CTRP provides reference tobacco products as standards for tobacco and tobacco product analyses. CTRP research focuses on constituent measurement and method development. The reference products are a necessary tool for measuring and reporting constituents as required by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and are sold to the tobacco research community throughout the world. As part of our research program, the CTRP has initiated a proficiency testing program to validate constituent measurement by laboratories and assist with the establishment of accepted methods for measuring physical and chemical properties of tobacco and tobacco products..