ERJ staff report (LMH)
Tokyo -- Bridgestone Corp. claims it has successfully decoded the main genome sequence for Hevea brasiliensis, commonly known as the rubber tree, which produces latex needed for tyre production. This genome sequence contains important genetic information about the tree's reproduction and life.
The research breakthrough was accomplished in conjunction with Genome Informatics Laboratory in the National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan.
This new genome data is expected to facilitate development of improved breeding technologies and growing methods for natural rubber. These technologies can enable the development of a better clone of the plant and improve the yield and quality of the latex produced, Bridgestone said in a 10 May news release.
It added that the data also may accelerate research applications in a variety of fields, including the development of a clone with superior disease resistance and stress tolerance.
In a separate 10 May announcement, Bridgestone said that it has also developed technologies to improve disease diagnosis for Hevea brasiliensis. This development was made in conjunction with NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation), an independent administrative agency that conducts joint research on technology for resolving issues with technological development in developing countries.
Bridgestone said it has been focusing resources on the serious problem of white root disease, which infects roots, killing trees through rotting. This disease is currently plaguing Hevea brasiliensis in southeast Asia, where more than 90 percent of the trees are grown, Bridgestone said.
Since 2010, Bridgestone has been working with the Indonesian Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology and Bogor Agricultural University, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, and Kyushu University to jointly promote technologies for diagnosing and preventing the disease under the administration of a NEDO research collaboration project.
This research collaboration has led to the development of four new technologies for early disease detection, namely:
- â€¢ Pathogen detection based on DNA analysis
- â€¢ Diagnosis based on latex component analysis
- â€¢ Diagnosis based on leaf-surface spectral and temperature-measurements
- â€¢ Regional health diagnosis based on satellite-image analysis
These technologies rely on skills in many scientific fields, including plant pathology, molecular biology, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, and remote sensing. The technologies developed now enable early disease diagnosis using simple tools that do not rely on visual analysis and can quantify pathogen density in the soil.
Looking ahead, the Bridgestone Group will continue working with Indonesian and Japanese universities to advance and share these diagnostic technologies, which help protect and strengthen the Hevea brasiliensis species.
Bridgestone said it is committed to effectively using the earth's resources as well as the advancement of â€œreducing, reusing, and recycling initiatives.â€ It added that it believes that in the future new resources for tyres should derive from sustainable materials therefore, it aims to eventually develop tyres from 100 percent sustainable materials through research into biomaterials in several fields.
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Press release 1 from Bridgestone
Press release 2 from Bridgestone