Agriculture is the art of turning plants into daily foodstuff, and nowadays, many different farming methods are coming into existence. This time, we welcome Associate Professor Hiroyoshi Iwata from the University of Tokyo, whose research aims to derive even better farming methods from the enormous amount of data that can be extracted from plants such as images, volumetric data, and genomic information, Mr. Shiraishi from Mayekawa Manufacturing Co. Ltd., who pursue studies to propose new farming methods from the symbiotic relationship between plants and bacteria, and Kouji Tachibana as facilitator to talk about our topic of new farming methods in Japan and the relationship between plants and humans.
Associate professor at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences Born in 1969. Spent his early childhood in Thailand and Indonesia. Graduated from the University of Tokyo Department of Agriculture. Obtained his PhD at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences. After pursuing research concerning his approach of combining agriculture with information science at the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (a research organization affiliated with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) and other institutions, he is now Associate Professor in the University of Tokyo Laboratory of Biometry and Bioinformatics since 2010. Currently, he is focused on accelerating selective breeding by combining genome and information sciences and is expanding his research to China, America, and even Africa.
Founded as an ice-making business, Mayekawa Manufacturing Co. Ltd. continually expanded its service areas from cold storage to food products, leisure and many more. The research about low-pesticide grass cultivation, which they started during this expansion, led to the discovery of endophytes, and subsequently they initiated research into using these endophytes as raw materials. In the natural world, various microorganisms, more generally referred to as endophytes, coexist in the interior of plants. Some of these confer disease resistances on their hosts, and promote plant growth. In respect to agriculture, these abilities are thought to contribute to reduced environmental burden and increased harvests, and so Mayekawa Manufacturing Co. Ltd. plans to further investigate these effects and develop new technologies.