Improvement in Agricultural Production by Developing Advanced Technology for Breeding, Cultivation, and Disease Prevention by Application of Microorganisms | Diverse and unique microorganisms lead to the ultimate safe and labor-saving agriculture

Utilizing microorganisms with diverse and unique metabolisms to increase agricultural production

Although a great variety of microorganisms exist, only limited species are utilized in industry. The diverse and unique metabolites, enzymes, and proteins produced by microorganisms exhibit interesting bioactivities. Our mission is to elucidate structures and functions of microbial enzymes and metabolites in order to make their practical application possible in a variety of fields. This will allow us to contribute to the sustainable development of our society.

Two particular issues facing us today on a global scale are food and the environment. We believe that microorganisms have important roles in the development of agricultural techniques that minimize environmental impact, maximize product safety and quality, and accordingly contribute to boosting the agricultural economy. Our project aims to increase agricultural output by developing next-generation breeding, cultivation, and pest control techniques that utilize microorganisms.

Developing a microbial factory that provides diverse microorganisms and enzymes with useful functions

The basis of this project is the microbial factory. In coordination with other R-GIRO projects, we plan to collect microorganisms from a diverse range of environments and to develop a so-called "factory" for microbial functions and metabolic systems.

One principal research theme is cell wall lytic enzymes from microorganisms. Glucanase and other cell wall lytic enzymes are known to break down the cell walls of plant pathogens. Today, pest and disease control is a major issue in crop cultivation. Therefore, this kind of research may help pave the way towards microorganism-derived enzyme pesticides using cell wall lytic enzymes.

Our research into the functional analysis of sulfur/selenium-delivering enzymes applicable to the production of cofactors and useful biofactors containing sulfur/selenium, has provided some interesting clue to the application of enzymes. Selenium is an essential trace element for mammals: it is present in selenoprotein as a selenocysteine residue and plays a crucial role in catalytic reactions. Sulfur plays a number of significant roles in the body. In previous research, we found that during sulfur/selenium insertion, specific sulfur/selenium delivery mechanisms, mediated by interactions between multiple proteins, led to high enzyme functionality and specificity. The use of such proteins allows the efficient insertion of sulfur/selenium into biofactor precursors to create sulfur/selenium-containing biofactors.

Applying research findings to the development of breeding, cultivation, and pest control techniques

We plan to elucidate a variety of microorganism environmental response systems, such as those for light, temperature, gas, metal, and nutrients. We also plan to develop practical methods, easily applicable on-site by agricultural workers, which are simple to use, inexpensive, and utilize of bioassaying methods. In addition, we will be conducting research geared at establishing safe and reliable pest- and disease-control systems that utilize the characteristics of natural biomolecules, such as the aforementioned cell wall lytic enzymes.

Microorganisms, Breeding, Cultivation, Pest- and disease-control, Agriculture, Enzymes

Associate Professor Hisaaki Mihara

Associate Professor Hisaaki Mihara

College of Life Sciences
03/1993 Kyoto Prefectural University Faculty of Agriculture Graduated
03/1995 Kyoto University "Graduate School, Division of Agriculture" Master course Completed
03/1998 Kyoto University "Graduate School, Division of Agriculture" Doctor course Completed

Ritsumeikan University Research Database : Hisaaki Mihara

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