2016 Fellow's Research Projects

M. Nazim Uddin, Bangladesh

Affiliation in Home Country Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Dept: Horticulture Research Center
Title: Scientific Officer
Research Themes Effects of high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) treatments on microbes contaminating fresh fruits and vegetables at Food Quality Evaluation and Control Unit
Laboratory Division of Food Processing and Distribution Research, Food Research Institute, NARO
Advisor Dr. Kazutaka YAMAMOTO


Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) is the largest national public research institute in Bangladesh and I am representing my organization and country as well. My goal is to enrich knowledge and skill on food safety and quality evaluation through hands on practices.The achieved expertize might be helpful for my institute to be more competent to support national food safety issues in the future. Japan is a developed country and the research facilities are also world class. The scientist

Mahasen Achintiya Bandara Ranatunga, Sri Lanka

Affiliation in Home Country Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka
Research Themes Development of a non-destructive quality evaluation method for tea using spectroscopic techniques.
Laboratory Nondestructive Evaluation Unit, Division of Analytical Science
Advisor Dr. Akifumi Ikehata


Sri Lanka and Japan are two leading tea producing countries in the world. Sri Lanka is world renowned for production of high quality orthodox black tea and Japan is branded as a high quality green tea producer. In both black and green tea, market prices are governed by the quality of the final product. Hence, it is utmost important to develop new efficient and effective protocols to evaluate quality of tea. Recently, there is a rapid development that can be seen in the area of spectroscopic techniques to evaluate quality of food products owing to several advantages such as rapidness, relatively low cost per analysis and non-destructive nature of measurement etc.

Therefore, my study will be focusing on developing novel spectroscopic techniques to evaluate quality of tea. During the study, different spectroscopic techniques will be evaluated for determination of quality using various chemometric approaches and expecting to use in prediction of quality nondestructively. The outcome would be immensely useful for the development of future tea industry. The study will be conducted at the Nondestructive Evaluation Unit, Division of Analytical Science, NFRI. I'm esteemed to join the "Hihakai" group to conduct this project, which makes my second "Home" in Japan creating a very friendly and enthusiastic lab environment. The knowledge and experience I will gain working with Japanese scientist would boost my confidence to implement new research projects once I return to the home institute.

I was delighted to accept the fellowship as it has been my dream and wish to visit the beautiful "Sakura land" during my lifetime. I take this opportunity to thank UNU and KIRIN for giving me this golden opportunity and NFRI for hosting me. I have been delightful with the Japanese hospitality and culture and eager to explore beautiful places such as Mount Fuji, Gokayama, Lake Toya and delicious Japanese foods like Sushi, Ramen, Yaki-imo.

Nguyen Sy Le Thanh, Vietnam

Affiliation in Home Country Department of Enzyme Biotechnology, Institute of Biotechnology (IBT)-Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST)
Research Themes

 Handling a Cell-density based Regulation of Fermentation in Bacillus subtilis

Laboratory Applied Microbiology Unit
Advisor Dr. Keitarou KIMURA


Natto (fermented soybean) is a popular traditional food in Japan, and other countries also have similar products, such as Tauco (Indonesia), Tuong (Vietnam), Dajiang (China), and Doenjang (Korea), which are made from soybean fermented using Bacillus subtilis (natto). During my PhD in Nara (NAIST), I tried various kinds of Natto, and it was very impressive for me. After back to Vietnam, I was lucky to be able to attend a seminar about Natto by Dr. Keitarou KIMURA when he visited Institute of Biotechnology (IBT) on 2014. Then, UNU-Kirin fellowship provided me a great opportunity to come back to Japan. I feel I am so lucky to be a member of Dr. Keitarou KIMURA group. I found that my advisor and other group members are kind and helpful to assist me. Under UNU-Kirin fellowship program, I will focus on Bacillus subtilis that synthesizes an amino-acid homo-polymer, poly-gamma-glutamic acid ( PGA), which is used as a food additive and expected in medical application. The synthesis of PGA is governed by cell-density based signal transduction pathway. I am going to discover a pathway to the high production and define a direction for significant improvements of B. subtilis (natto) to obtain a strain with higher production yields. A single amino acid substitution in yxzZ gene product is critically important in cell-density signal transduction pathway that regulates extracellular PGA production. However function of YxyZ protein in the signal transduction pathway is still unknown. UNU-Kirin fellowship program is providing me a great chance to focus on and explore biological functions of YxyZ protein.

I would like to express my deep thanks to NFRI and Applied Microbiology Unit, which is blessed with modern equipment for advance analysis. Besides, I was given a great chance to try many kinds of Ramen (I will try at least all Ramen in Tsukuba area) Sushi, Sashimi, of course Kirin beer and Kirin products during my time in Japan.

Nattaporn Suttiwijipukdee, Thailand

Affiliation in Home Country Kasetsart University, Kasetsart Agricultural and Agro-Industrial Product Improvement Institute, Special Research Unit of Nondestructive Quality Evaluation of Commodities
Research Themes Evaluation of Browning Reaction in Agricultural Materials using Far-Ultraviolet and Near-Infrared Spectroscopies
Laboratory Nondestructive Evaluation Unit, Division of Analytical Science
Advisor Dr. Akifumi Ikehata


My research is focused on browning reactions which play an important role in human life, especially in food processing. The reactions can be categorized as non-enzymatic browning and enzymatic browning. We focus on the Maillard reaction for the former and the polyphenol oxidase activity for the latter. Analysis of these reactions is very complicated and is not easy to understand. Our research goal is to develop a more rapid, convenient and less preparation method for detecting a physiological and chemical component changing during the browning effect, since these reactions have a highly influence on the quality of food.

I want to deeply thank the UNU-fellowship program for giving me an opportunity to do the research on the browning reaction evaluation at NFRI. After I came to NFRI, I am very impressed with NFRI staff. They are excellent and very kind. With a lot of powerful instruments, NFRI is a wonderful place for doing the research. Japan is very strong in food technology and contains a lot of advance technology. I am sure that my knowledge and research experience to be obtained from this program will be fruitful for a cooperative project between Thailand and Japan in the future. Also, I will provide this knowledge to students and others for further improvement in the quality of food and agricultural products.