2012 Fellow's Research Projects

Li Fengjuan, P.R. China

Affiliation in Home Country College of Food Engineering and Biotechnology, Tianjin University of Science and Technology, Associate professor
Research Themes My research topic as a UNU-Kirin fellow at NFRI: Functional properties of Chinese soybean paste against angiotensin I-converting enzyme and renin
Laboratory Nutritional Function Laboratory.
Advisor Dr. Kohji Yamaki, Head of Nutritional Function Laboratory.


I got my doctorate from China Agricultural University. My research work has been concentrating on functional foods with properties of prevention and remedy of cardiovascular diseases, especially of hypertension, microorganisms involved in food fermentation as well as advanced techniques for separating bioactive substances. It's my great honor to work here at NFRI as a UNU-Kirin fellow, and I value this opportunity very much. The objective of my present research is to evaluate the angiotensin I-converting enzyme/renin inhibitory activities of Chinese soybean paste and to identify the related bioactive substances, which would be helpful to develop functional foods with potential blood pressure-decreasing properties.
I've been here for nearly two months. I'm quite impressed by the rigorous scholarship of the NFRI researchers, the great research platform and the quiet and beautiful surroundings. So, I'm confident that the work at NFRI will be great experience for me to enhance my academic capacity and attain further achievement, and that the programme will definitely strengthen the research project on functional food development of my home laboratory. Besides, I have been very interested in Japanese culture, like Japanese language, food, literature and movies. I had a precious chance to see sakura at the end of April and was really charmed with its beauty. I also hope to improve my Japanese level during my stay in Japan.

Witcha Treesuwan, Thailand

Affiliation in Home Country Thai Food Revolution (TFoR)/ Functional Food Laboratory, Division of nutrition and health, Institute of Food Research and Product Development, Kasetsart University.
Job title: Researcher
Research Themes Formulation and characterization of micro/nanodispersions encapsulating functional food components.
Laboratory Advance Food Technology Laboratory
Advisor Dr. Isao Kobayashi


UNU-Kirin fellowship program is one of the prime among postdoctoral scholarships. I appreciate that the fellowship programme is organized excellently, supporting both living and working condition of the fellows from the very beginning. Arriving at night on the first day with empty stomach, I was worried about dinner but a welcome party erased all anxieties. Without problem in administration, I'm totally free for work!

I believe that explanation by <<Science>> and design by <<Engineer>> will produce new technology in the future. Under the research title of "Formulation and characterization of micro/nanodispersions encapsulating functional food components", finding the way to entrap oil soluble and partial oil-water soluble compounds in nano-droplet size emulsion is the main goal. Investigation at the molecular level which concerned in molecular gastronomy is planned for the long-term goal. Advance implementation of dispersion to culinary transformation is also the frontier expectation for the Thai Food Revolution (TFoR) group.

Wonderful hospitality and friendly people are making my living in this calm city fantastic. My advisor is prompt for discussion at any minute. Laboratory members provide help before I requested. Badminton club is big fun of the week. Finally, I hope the fellowship program will continue every year to encourage young generation of scientists and form stronger science-technology network in Asia. "Driven energy is beyond nutrition and kinetic force".

Nugraha Edhi Suyatma, Indonesia

Affiliation in Home Country Bogor Agricultural University, Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, Department of Food Science and Technology. Job Title: Lecturer and Researcher
Research Themes Development of Antimicrobial Film based on Pectin and Active Packaging as Ethylene Scavenger for Extending the Shelf-life of Table Grape Fruit.
Laboratory Food Packaging laboratory
Advisor Dr. Yutaka Ishikawa


Firstly, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to UNU, Kirin Holdings Co., Ltd., and NFRI for giving me UNUKirin Fellowship for Year 2012-2013. This is a great opportunity for me to carry out the research in Food Packaging Laboratory (NFRI).

The main objective of our research are to develop antimicrobial film made from pectin incorporated with tartaric acid and ZnO nanoparticles and to make ethylene scavenger to absorb ethylene gas probably presents in the storage room. These studies are expected to control water loss, gray mold induced by Botrytis cinerea, and postharvest disorder caused by ethylene exposure during the storage and transportation of table grape. I hope our research is fruitful and such valuable experience and knowledge will be shared with my colleagues and my students when I return to my university. Besides, I have obtained other valuable experience in testing transportation/distribution packaging and other food packaging test during this program. Japan is not the first developed country where I have visited. However, I was very impressed with the cleanness, peaceful, eco-friendly, and well established rules in Japan. Concerning Japanese people, I was impressed not only with their discipline and hard-working but also with their kindness, tolerance and hospitality. Finally, my impression in daily work at Food Packaging Laboratory (NFRI), my advisor and the members of his lab have given me their warm welcome and full support for my work.

Miao Lili, P.R. China

Affiliation in Home Country State Key Laboratory for Microbial resource, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Job Title: 2010.7-present, Assistant professor
Research Themes My research topic: Enzymatic preparation of inositol from cheap material e.g. starch
Laboratory Enzyme Laboratory
Advisor Dr. Motomitsu Kitaoka


Inositol is involved in numerous physiological events in living organisms. The production of inositol has been pursued by various methods, such as extract from plant, etc. which are high-cost and time-consuming.

The goal of my research is realizing one-pot enzymatic production of inositol, a low-cost and environment-friendly method from cheap material such as starch. I am very glad to have this opportunity to study in NFRI as UNU-Kirin fellow, the colleagues in NFRI are very friendly and helpful whether in my laboratory or in my everyday life in Japan. The facilities and equipment are advanced and sufficient; enviroment here is clean, quiet, and peaceful. I was also impressed by the warm welcome and help from senior UNU Kirin fellows, Musumi sensei and the Kirin Holdings Co., Ltd. I am looking forward to a fruitful year of my research and experiences in Japan.

Mahejibin Khan, India

Affiliation in Home Country Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore 570020 Department of Food Microbiology,
Title: Scientist
Research Themes Study on acid resistance in E.coli
The purpose of this study is to analyze the translational regulation of gadA gene by tRNA modification governed by the mnmE (trmE) and mnmG (gidA) genes.
Laboratory Microbial Function Laboratory
Advisor Dr. Susumu Okamoto


Moving to a foreign country to study can be a daunting experience. But I feel I am very much fortunate to get the chance to participate in UNU-Kirin fellowship program. Initially, I was very much anxious about new culture and working environment. However, all my fear and anxiety quickly subsided. Everyone in the Institute and my lab was very friendly and welcoming. I was astounded by excellent research facilities, high-quality subject expertise, incredible learning environment and very helpful and cooperative staff.

As far as my experience about Japan is concerned, I arrived here with full of excitement, doubt, fear, happiness and sadness, being in new country, experience and see totally different culture and way of life. I can't deny it was difficult at the beginning. No family or friends. Perhaps, I got my first culture shock the first time I went shopping. I realized that I could neither read the letters nor recognize most of the things displayed on the shelves. I spent several days trying to experiment with the few recognizable ones and not surprisingly, I made lots of mistakes. But I guess it was part of new things to learn and adjust to. But all my doubts diminished with time. I began to like environment friendly society, respect for elderly peoples, very safe anywhere you go, convenient transport system, and breathtaking sceneries. As time passed, I got to know more people and started to make friends. Generally, I noticed that the Japanese peoples are a very kind, friendly, tolerant, disciplined and show a mutual respect to each other. I am sure exploring a totally new culture along with conducting research related to my field of interest would be an incredible experience.