Agriculture, Vanilla Too, is Moving Indoors


Dr. Chaim Frenkel

Rutgers University - the State University of New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ



Agriculture is based on the efficacy of plants to propagate their mass and to reproduce by collecting from the environment carbon dioxide, minerals and water.  However, traditional agricultural production is subject to vast fluctuations, caused by drought, temperature extremes, wind and predation, mostly by insects and disease. These perturbations can be minimized by Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) in greenhouses or similar structures, thereby offering sustainability and consistency in crop yield and quality.  This attribute is particularly valued by the vanilla business, which seeks stability in the supply, quality and price of vanilla beans. The high capital investment and high operating costs of CEA are a challenge to the application of this production method to vanilla cultivation.

Dr. Chaim Frenkel is a native of Israel where he obtained his B.Sc. degree, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He earned his MS in Horticulture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA and his doctorate from Washington State University, Pullman. WA. He next went on to do postdoctoral work at Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI.

He later accepted a position at Rutgers-the State University of New Jersey where he holds a position of a Professor.

 Chaim Frenkel is interested in and carries basic studies on plant aging (and fruit ripening) processes. The focus of these studies is the query of metabolic and cellular cues that trigger the onset of aging processes in plants. He also studied various aspects of Vanilla Science and Technology.