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Environmental Bioengineering

  • account_circleKiyotaka HaraPhD, Assoc. Prof.
  • account_circleHiroshi KikukawaPhD, Research Asst. Prof.
Environmental Bioengineering
Applied microbiology for sustainable environment and food production.
Our aim of study is addition of value for food residues, such as residual non-food parts and byproducts from food production processes. Our approach is producing valuable products from food residues by microbial fermentation. Our main target product is fine chemical (e.g., supplement, functional food, food additives, feed supplement and functional fertilizers) that maintain and stimulate health of animal and crops (Figure 1). We are challenging to improve microbial cell factories to develop lower energy required, higher efficient and ecological friendly bioprocess converting ecologically negative resources to value-added fine chemicals.
1. Conversion of food residues to ingredients for microbial fermentation

In many cases, it is difficult to use food residues directly as ingredients for microbial fermentation. We are developing methods to treat these resources for easy utilization by microorganisms.

2. Assessment and improvement of microbial cell factories.

We study to measure fundamental metabolic parameters of microorganisms owing to fermentation performance, especially energy and redox metabolism. We are engineering these metabolisms to improve microorganisms to develop tough and efficient cell factories for production.

3. Improvement of fine chemical fermentation.

We improve microbial fine chemical fermentation. To date, we improve yeast to enhance productivity of glutathione as a supplement and functional food for health of human, astaxanthin as feed supplement for health of fish, and 5’-amino levulinic acid as functional fertilizer for health of crops.

Figure 1
Fine chemical production from food residues
Figure 2
An example of fermentation of food residues using engineered microorganisms
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