Home > MAFF UPDATE > MAFF UPDATE No.763(Published on January 14th, 2014)


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MAFF UPDATE No.763(Published on January 14th, 2014)

Ten Outstanding Topics in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research, 2013

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Secretariat selected “10 Outstanding Topics in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research, 2013” in cooperation with the Agricultural Technology Press Club.

I. “Ten Outstanding Topics in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research, 2013”

Ten topics considered to have excellent outcomes and to draw high social interest were selected from all the last year's news articles on agriculture, forestry and fisheries research results, achieved by private sectors, universities, public research institutes and research institutes of independent administrative agencies. The selection was made in cooperation with the Agricultural Technology Press Club (including 29 companies, such as agricultural-related specialist papers and magazines related to agricultural technology).

II. The selected ten achievements:

1. New type of scissors used for easily picking apples

-Alleviating strain on the hands by using a new three-bladed structure-

In cooperation with Iwate Agricultural Research Center and Saboten Co., Ltd. and the Bio-Oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution (BRAIN), the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) has succeeded in developing a new type of scissors which alleviates strain on the hands when thinning out apples which are going to bloat. The scissors which were developed by adopting a three-blade structure are expected to alleviate strain on the hands and enable the work to be done more expeditiously, as several apples may be picked at the same time by inserting the central blade into the core and closing the other blades toward the center.

 

2. Capturing sika deer with a drop net

-Expected to safely and effectively reduce the density of sika deer in forests-

In collaboration with the Kyoto Prefectural Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Technology Center and the Forest Preservation Section of Kyoto Prefecture and Nantan Branch of the Kyoto Hunting Association, the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute developed a drop net for capturing sika deer which can be readily transported and set, and safely handled. This equipment may be used for capturing a herd of a small number of deer in a place where firearms are restricted, such as a national park, or an area close to a livestock barn or residence, and repeatedly used at the same place. This equipment is expected to contribute to a reduction of the density of sika deer in forests.

 

3. Novel food materials called “rice gel”

-Expected to become an alternative to wheat and reduce food calories in a variety of processed foods-

The National Food Research Institute (NFRI) of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) has developed a method for manufacturing novel food materials called “rice gel” from high-amylose rice. A variety of foods with rheological properties ranging from those of soft jelly to high elastic rubber can be created. Rice gel does not require a milling process,  and can be produced at low cost. It is expected to be used as an alternative to wheat flour, and as a low calorie food which requires less oil, etc.

 

4. Stationary strawberry picking robot system

-Expected to significantly promote labor-saving-

In cooperation with Shibuya Seiki Co., Ltd. and Ehime Research Institute of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Bio-Oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution (BRAIN), the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) has successfully developed a stationary strawberry picking robot system to promote automation of strawberry picking work. Combined with recirculating mobile cultivation equipment, the robot system picks only strawberries at the proper time of harvesting. By enhancing the identification device, the working time was extended to enable strawberries to be picked even in daylight. Also, the cost  the robot system was reduced. This robot system is expected to significantly contribute to labor-saving.

 

5. Discovery of a gene (TAWAWA1) which determines the number of rice grains

-Expected to increase rice yeild-

The University of Tokyo, Okayama University, and the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS) have jointly discovered a gene which determines the number of rice grains. The gene was named TAWAWA1.

It was introduced into Koshihikari through successive backcross using a dominant mutant. As a result, total grain weight per plant of the backcross line was significantly increased than that of Koshihikari due to increase of the number of grains. It is expected that commercial rice varieties with high yield trait would be developed through exploiting the function of this gene.

 

6. Middle-aged and elderly women with a high serum β-cryptoxanthin level are less prone to osteoporosis

-Mandarin oranges expected to prevent osteoporosis-

The National Institute of Fruit Tree Science (NIFTS) of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and Hamamatsu University School of Medicine have jointly discovered that middle-aged and elderly women whose serum β-cryptoxanthin level is high, have a 92% lower incidence of osteoporosis than those whose serum β-cryptoxanthin level is low. Mandarin oranges, which contain β-cryptoxanthin, are therefore expected to prevent osteoporosis.

 

7. Increase in rice yield due to elevated CO2 concentrations is hindered by high temperature conditions

-Confirmed by the FACE (Free Air CO2 Enrichment) experiments conducted at two sites with different climate conditions-

The National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, Taiyo Keiki Co., Ltd., the Akita Agriculture Experiment Station, Akita Prefectural University, the National Agricultural Research Center for the Tohoku Region of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), Iwate University and the Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Tohoku University, suggested that the increase in rice yield expected under rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations would be reduced by warmer conditions, s, which raises concerns about future rice yields under global warming.

 

8. A new type of paddy-field rice, “Yumefuwari”, appropriate for rice flour bread

-Rice flour bread, which is characterized by a “soft”, “moist” and “sticky” texture-

The National Agricultural Research Center for the Tohoku Region of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) has successfully developed a new type of paddy-field rice, “Yumefuwari”, for rice flour bread. In comparison with “Akitakomachi”, “Yumefuwari” consists of rice flour appropriate for bread, which is characterized by a low proportion of damaged starch and a small particle diameter. As the sale of rice flour bread is planned for 2014, “Yumefuwari” is expected to contribute to the expansion of demand for rice flour.

 

9. A “cultivation method without raising seedlings” which promotes labor-saving in elevated strawberry cultivation

-Significantly reduces the seedling cultivation period, and promotes labor-saving-

The Shimane Agricultural Technology Center has developed a “cultivation method without raising seedlings”, a forced strawberry cultivation method using elevated beds which avoids overlap of the picking season and the seedling growth season, and promotes labor-saving. This method is expected to contribute to stabilization of management by achieving significant labor-saving in raising seedlings, and dramatically reducing working hours and the cost of raising seedlings.

 

10. Forecasting crop failures of rice and wheat at 3 months before the harvest

-The hindcasts are reliable in 20% of the global harvested area-

 (NIAES) and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) have demonstrated that the moderate-to-marked yield losses of rice and wheat over 20% of the harvested area are reliably predictable at three months before the harvest using seasonal climatic forecasts . This is the first crop prediction technology applicable to the global cropland.
Contact:

Public Relations

Administration Division

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Person in charge: Nakamura, Seki

Representative: +81-3-3502-8111 (extension 5847)

Dial-in: +81-3-3502-7407

Fax: +81-3-5511-8622

contact

大臣官房国際部国際政策課
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FAX:03-3502-8084

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