(Jan. 26, 2:54 p.m.) A new laboratory for research and development of commodity treatments and port inspection technologies should open in South Miami, Fla., by the end of 2009.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service plans to open the new laboratory because of its proximity to both sea and air ports.

The facility will be called Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection and Port Technology Methods Development Laboratory, reflecting its purpose to find better ways to protect the country’s agricultural and natural resources from foreign plant pests and diseases, according to a news release.

The lab will test commodity treatments and port inspection technologies already used by APHIS and by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customers and Border Protection.

Facility research includes alternatives to methyl bromide, work on controlled temperature and atmosphere treatments, and methods to trace commodities’ origins.