The protoculture was right here all the time, and it looks that we were the only ones in the universe that didn't know it!

Dana Sterling

The Protoculture Factory Matrix, was also known as the Protoculture Factory, Protoculture Matrix, Protoculture Furnace. It was sometimes referred to as the Storage Matrix and Protoculture Vessel by the Robotech Masters, was a special device that could produce the mysterious energy known as protoculture. It was originally stored within the Super Dimension Fortress-1 Macross, then later, unknowingly stored at SX.83. At the end of the Second Robotech War, the clone Zor Prime, after regaining his memories as Zor, attempted to destroy the device once and for all. He failed, dispersing the Invid Flower of Life, which spread throughout Earth, turning it into a fertile garden and awaiting cultivation by the Invid. Prior to the arrival of these new invaders, the Robotech Expeditionary Force ordered that the device be brought off-planet where they felt it would be more secure.


Thousands of years before the First Robotech War, a young scientist named Zor discovered the limitless source of energy known as protoculture from the Invid Flower of Life. He engineered a special device that could efficiently extract energy from the alien plants, unaware of the consequences that lay ahead. This discover became the catalyst for a great shift in his native Tirolian society.

This society would eventually transform into the Robotech Masters, where protoculture had become the basis of their galaxy-wide empire. They used protoculture as the key to immortality, in their war machine, to grow clones and keep them docile and under their control, and to genetically engineer a warrior race known as the Zentraedi, and outfitted them as an intergalactic armada. Zor witessed the destruction his creation was causing, and had a vision of what he must do to end it. He hid the Protoculture Factory Matrix, the only one of its kind, along with much of his research aboard his battlefortress, and sent it away to another part of the galaxy. In that time, Zor was killed and the knowledge to create protoculture lost.

The Protoculture Factory Matrix was stored in the Reflex Furnaces of Zor's battlefortress, a ship that would later be classified as the Super Dimension Fortress-1 Macross (SDF-1). After the SDF-1 was destroyed by a sneak attack, the wreckage was stored in the site SX.83. The three silos were thought to have contain useless Robotech junk by the Robotech Defense Force and later, the Army of the Southern Cross.

It was revealed later during the Second Robotech War that the site did indeed have the Matrix, but was now being overtaken by the Invid Flower of Life. This new development came as a shock to the Robotech Masters, who desperately needed it for the survival of their race. As they remotely opened the reflex furnace, they knew it was too late. Zor Prime, a clone of the original Zor, angry at the Masters' continued misuse of the protoculture, took his revenge by killing the Masters' leadership, and set their mothership to self-destruct. The ensuing explosion and debris caused the exposed and now blooming Flower of Life to spread throughout the Earth.


Seeing that Robotech is a patchwork of three different series, dialogue evidence was usually one of the things to go by when crafting the Robotech "canon". As such, there has been basis as to why the Protoculture Factory Matrix was not completely destroyed by Zor Prime at the end of Robotech: The Masters.

  • The Ever Reliable Narrator
    • Zor's final gesture above the site of the SDF-1 has compounded the disaster. In attempting to destroy his creation, and thus thwart the impending invasion by the Invid, Zor has made a critical miscalculation. Instead of rendering the Protoculture Matrix useless, he has freed the spores of the mutated Protoculture strain, thus causing the Earth to become a fertile garden awaiting cultivation by the Invid.
  • Elder (Episode #37)
    • Show us the life forms that protected this planet from the Zentraedi and who now have the Protoculture Factory.
  • Elder (Episode #37)
    • While we wait I would make a point, we have found the factory...
  • Master (Episode #37)
    • We are too close to regaining the secretes of the Protoculture Factory to make the same mistakes the Zentraedi made. More tests of the humans are needed.
  • The Ever Reliable Narrator (Episode #45)
    • Without the technology to develop Protoculture on their own, the Robotech Masters are desperately trying to recover the last know production Matrix.
  • The Ever Reliable Narrator (Episode #45)
    • They find themselves in a desperate situation, the secretes of Protoculture production have been lost with the passing of Zor, who first created them. All attempts to rediscover those secretes through the cloning of Zor have ended in failure. Now the Robotech Elders are forced into confrontation as a final alternative. They must try to recapture the last remaining Protoculture Matrix hidden on Earth before the civilization literally collapses around them.

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