Graduate Student Forum

The Secret to Making Japanese Food More Delicious: Japan’s National Mold, Koji Kin

Tuesday, 27 April 2021 | 12:15 - 13:00 (JST)
Zoom Meeting
  • Chan Lu Graduate Student, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo
  • Sawako Shirahase TCJS Director
Event Description

Japan’s national mold—Aspergillus oryzae, generally called Koji Kin, is the mold traditionally used in Japanese food fermentation industries for centuries, including sake, soy sauce and miso. Hence, its breeding is significantly important for Japanese food culture. In nature, Koji Kin has not been found to be able via male and female mating for breeding, just like animals or plants. However, recent research has revealed that Koji Kin actually has two types of sex, and it may become possible to carry out cross breeding. For mating, cells need to survive after fusion. We have found that there are various affinity preference combinations among different pairs of Koji Kin strains, some of which can be compatible with each other and others cannot. In order to create further industrially useful strains, it is necessary to solve the problem of incompatibility between strains. Therefore, here she is investigating the cause of compatibility by searching and analyzing genes related incompatibility among Koji Kin strains. If we clarify the critical genes causing incompatibility and then break the cell fusion barrier, it is expected to produce new Koji Kin with more taste and flavor, which can make Japanese food more delicious than before, and meet the appetite of more people in the whole world.