2014 Fellow's Research Projects

Abu Torab M A Rahim, Ph.D., Bangladesh

Affiliation in Home Country Institute of Nutrition and Food Science University of Dhaka
Title: Professor
Research Themes Purification, identification, and evaluation of anti-hyperlipidemic compounds in agricultural products
Advisor Dr. Kohji Yamaki


I am a faculty at the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

To avail the UNU-Kirin fellowship 2014-15, I am here in Japan for the second time. Back in 1991, I obtained my doctorate degree from Kumamoto University Medical School in Nutritional Biochemistry. The UNU-Kirin fellowship has given me an excellent opportunity to come again here and work on similar research areas.

I am going to screen out enzyme inhibitory activity of local selected foods following isolation and characterization of them and then will try to reveal mechanisms of their enzyme inhibitory actions.

I found that NFRI has an excellent research environment to conduct research at the 'state of the art' level. Despite post-tsunami constraints, Japan still is an excellent place to live and work on. I am always fond of Japanese culture and work ethics. Besides, as a professional of nutrition and food science, I rate Japanese foods most soothing for a balance diet and thereby I am enjoying them most. Considering food and working environments in conjunction with a hospitable culture, Japan is an ideal place to proceed along with a research programme. Finally, I do hope that the UNU-Kirin fellowship program will be continued to build a stronger science-technology network in Asia.

Chrun Rithy, Cambodia

Affiliation in Home Country Faculty of Agro-Industry, Department of Food Biotechnology, Royal University of Agriculture
Job title: Lecturer and Researcher
Research Themes Identification and control of microbiological hazards in fermented vegetables and fermented fishes produced in Cambodia
Laboratory Food Hygiene Laboratory
Advisor Dr. Yasuhiro Inatsu


Fermented vegetables and fishes are commonly consumed directly or after cooking in many Cambodian dishes. However, fermented foods may contaminate with microbiological hazards, therefore the goal for my research is to identify the major microbiological hazards in fermented vegetables and fermented fishes produced in Cambodia. Since it is difficult to control histamine producing bacteria through the traditional fermented foods, and to eliminate already formed biogenic amines in food, bio-control by using food-grade bacteria with bacteriocin or its amine oxidizing activity to reduce biogenic amine levels in foods is also the purpose of this study. It is a very great opportunity for me to receive UNU-Kirin Fellowship so that I could conduct my research and know about Japanese culture. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to NFRI for accepting me and to Kirin Holdings Co., Ltd for supporting the fellowship.

I have been at NFRI, Tsukuba since 1st April 2014. I am very happy that I can work in hygiene laboratory of NFRI which is fully equipped for advanced analysis, especially with the modern equipment for our research. I really enjoy the atmosphere here and feel comfortable. I would also like to thank my advisor for his kind hospitality and always being available for discussion. I thank my team of our hygiene laboratory for their kind support and collaboration. I have been in Japan two months, but I can say this is a dynamic country. Japanese people are very kind, with hospitality, tolerant, respectful with smiling and nodding.

Sriyam Supawadee, Ph.D., Thailand

Affiliation in Home Country Department of Agro-Industry, Faculty of Science and Agricultural Technology, Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna Nan, Lecturer
Research Themes Genetic approach for bacteriophage resistance of Bacillus subtilis (natto)
Laboratory Applied Bacteriology Laboratory
Advisor Dr. Keitarou KIMURA


I really thank The United National University, Kirin Holdings Co., Ltd., and National Food Research Institute for considering me for participation in the UNU-Kirin fellowship programme 2014-2015. This program is greatly fantastic, as I have thought including learning new technology.

In my research at NFRI, my main objective is to work on a comprehensive evaluation of virulent Bacillus subtilis phages for biocontrol in fermented foods production. This field has not been extensively researched in Thailand, it is so exciting for me to learn as well. After participating in the UNU-Kirin fellowship programme, I will be able to enhance and lift up the production standard of fermented food in my country, especially Thua nao (Thai natto) that is an indigenous fermented soybean widely consumed in northern part of Thailand. I will apply the new technology that I got for other research in my future work.

Moreover, I am also impressed with Japanese culture. The most impressive thing is the awesome nature view, especially cherry blossoms festival in Japan. Besides, the people-general city is very impressive and the Japanese food is unique and tasty. All members of Applied Bacteriology Laboratory are also very kind to me, making my stay in Japan most enjoyable. I will keep those memories in my minds.

Pushpa S Murthy, Ph.D., India

Affiliation in Home Country Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore 570020 Plantation products, spices and flavor technology Department
Title: Senior Scientist
Research Themes Hyper production of protease by food grade fungi using food by-product
Laboratory Applied Mycology Laboratory
Advisor Dr. Ken-Ichi Kusumoto


The objective of the research is to obtain a strain of A. oryzae by UV-mutagenesis and photoreaction for enhancement of protease production followed by optimization. The output of the research will be useful in elucidating the stimulation of protease and provide ideas on light regulation for bioactive compound production.

Firstly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to CFTRI, UNU, Kirin Holdings Co., Ltd., and NFRI for offering this fellowship. I hope my research is fruitful and the valuable experience and knowledge will be shared with the scientific community. Coming to Japan is just not about science, but interlinked to a totally new lifestyle, be it a climate, food and language. But all my fears vanished when I met my advisor and my labmates. They extended me warm welcome and complete support for my work and also for comfortable stay. My lab mates are very friendly and the work culture is amazing. I am impressed with the eco-friendly, discipline, hard working and kindness in Japanese people.

I had a precious chance to see Sakura /cherry blossom which is very celebrated in Japan, also my visit to Tsukuba festival gave me a glimpse of cultural exchange, be it food, art and craft and dance.

Never the last, my batch mates of UNU-fellow 2014-15 are co-operative and always have looped in a string, be it exploring to new place, playing table tennis or shopping. I hope to enjoy and cherish all that Japan gives me and will remain grateful.

Rosaly Vallejo Manaois, Philippines

Affiliation in Home Country Rice Chemistry and Food Science Division, Philippine Rice Research Institute; Senior Science Research Specialist
Research Themes Studies on the functional components of colored rice and selected vegetables
Laboratory Functional Food Factor Laboratory
Advisor Dr. Jun Watanab


When it comes to any field of scientific research, Japan is one of the top choices among researchers in my country in pursuing degree or non-degree study. Hence, I am thankful to UNU and Kirin Holdings for this opportunity for me to come to Japan and work at NFRI.

For my research, I will explore phytochemicals with antioxidant properties from some Philippine rice varieties with varying pericarp colors and selected commonly consumed vegetables in Japan. I will then test the antioxidant efficacy of colored rices and their potential modulatory effects on beneficial microbial populations in a biological model.

I have been away from my family and friends for almost two months now, but thus far, I have enjoyed my stay here, thanks to modern day communication technology, as well as the excellent living and working conditions provided to us. Upon my arrival, I received a warm welcome in the form of cherry trees in bloom lining the roads leading to the Guest House. It was a breathtaking sight! Tsukuba is clean, quiet, peaceful, and with beautiful surroundings that can easily take your stress away. NFRI is just a few minutes' walk from our accommodation, while Church and other important establishments can be reached via convenient public transport services. Japanese people, particularly my adviser, lab colleagues, and fellowship coordinators, are gracious, accommodating, and disciplined. Aside from these, I've become friends with the other fellows. Together, we've visited different places, explored Japanese culture and traditions, and learned from each other. I am looking forward to many more enriching experiences that lie ahead. United Nations University-Kirin Fellowship Program About Interviews with our supporters Scenes from the Laboratory Food Culture of Fellow's Homeland.