The Center does not conduct "search for the sake of research"The results of research on genomic function, morphogenesis, growth physiology and metabolic function of plants as well as the relationship between environmental factors and plants are actively utilised in fields directly connected to the daily life of people such as dealing with the food crisis, promotion of environmental conservation, production of new substances and effective use of secondary metabolites.
The global environment in recent years has been affected by many factors, such as global warming and acid rain, which cause stress not only on humans and animals but also on plants. Understanding the physiological responses by plants to such stress poses an important research theme linked to the conservation of the living environment and food security in the 21st century. The Center aims at creating a plant system which is capable of contributing to environmental conservation by analyzing the complex molecular biological basisconsisting of plants and the dynamic environmental elements, including microbes, which surround plants.
More than 45,000 organic compounds have so far been indentified in plants. The Center aims at developing highly efficient biomass production systems (mainly to provide new types of fuel and industrial raw materials incorporating useful new ingredients) and also technologies to produce rare natural substances with a complex structure for use as raw materials for pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, aromatics and cosmetics. At the same time, the development of functional plants, including food, for the next generation is planned to create a society which is characterised by a long life span and good health.
Various secondary metabolites which can be used as pharmaceuticals, industrial raw materials and food additives will also be produced.
Development of High Yield, Environment-Resistant and/or Disease-Resistant Varieties
Since the 20th century, industrial activities have made daily life phenomenally more convenient and the world population has rapidly increased. At the same time, agriculture has caused desertification, the accumulation of salts and the contamination of rivers. Agricultural land has decreased through urbanization and desertification, and has detiorated due to salts. Because of these, agricultural productivity is approaching its limit. Japan's food supply self-sufficiency rate is especially crucial as it is ranked 28th among the 30 member countries of the OECD. According to UN statistics, the world population will reach 9.3 billion in 2050 and the subsequent imbalance between the population and viable volume of grain production suggests the arrival of food and energy crises.
The Center is promoting basic research to establish new scientific technologies to solve the food problem through the development of high yield varieties and varieties which are resistant to harsh environmental conditions and/or diseases.