2020 Activity Report vol.1:Osaka University

Activity Report of Open Application Program 2020 vol.1 (Online)

Japanese Fermentation Technology to Contribute to the Realization of Sustainable Industrial Society

Report from the International Center for Biotechnology, Osaka University

The International Center for Biotechnology at Osaka University held an online workshop that focused on Japan's fermentation manufacturing technology. It introduced its history, the latest research projects, and applications to various manufacturing applications. The workshop was attended by approximately 120 participants, including students and young teachers, from seven Asian countries and regions (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia and Taiwan). It was possible to learn the science that underpins fermentation manufacturing technology and to provide participants with the opportunity to reflect on how the technology could contribute to building a sustainable society.

Day 1

Following a greeting from the Director of the International Center for Biotechnology, Professor Honda of the Center gave a lecture entitled “Fermentation foods in Japan – their science and manufacturing -.” This lecture focused on Japanese sake brewing and amino acid fermentation. Prof. Honda explained the history of Japan's fermentation manufacturing industry and the microbial metabolism mechanisms that support fermentation phenomena.

In the ensuing lecture, Associate Professor Toya of the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology at Osaka University explained metabolic engineering that is important for breeding fermentation production strains, metabolic design methods based on computational science, and introduced the latest research results on metabolic control using optical switches.

Lecture Scenes on Day 1 (Left: Professor Honda; Right: Associate Professor Toya)

Day 2

Assistant Professor Putri of the Graduate School of Engineering at Osaka University gave a lecture entitled "Analysis of fermented foods by metabolomics." Regarding the quality evaluations of various foods using metabolome technology, this lecture introduced that using fermented foods (coffee, tempe, terasi) produced in Southeast Asian countries as examples. In addition, Assistant Professor Putri also gave advice to participating students who are interested in studying in Japan based on her own experiences learned at Osaka University as an international student.

Finally, Ms. Kwan of Saraya Co., Ltd. explained manufacturing technology development of sophorolipid at his company. Sophorolipid is a biodegradable cleaning ingredient produced from plant-derived raw materials through the fermentation process using yeast. In addition to developing the manufacturing process of sophorolipid, the lecture introduced environment conservation activities undertaken by Saraya Co., Ltd. It was a valuable opportunity to recognize that fermentation production technologies can be key technologies for building sustainable societies.

Lecture Scenes on Day 2 (Left: Assistant Professor Putri; Right: Ms. Kwan)

At the end of the series of lectures, an online student exchange was held. The exchange sessions were held by inviting about 40 students who are interested in studying abroad to participate in the workshops. Nine international students from Asian countries and regions (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Taiwan and Thailand) attending Osaka University participated as hosts. In a group talk using Zoom's breakout room function, each host student introduced their research and described their everyday life, and then deepened the rapport through Q&A on overseas study. The group talks were held for 20 minutes x 3 rounds while shuffling participants from each group. However, all the groups were active with some people said that there was not enough time.

Commemorative Photo at the Online Exchange Meeting