Research

Education and Research

1) Activity Details

Using funds from Grants‐in‐Aid for Scientific Research, the past five years of plant innovation surveys have succeeded in uncovering many species of useful plants that are expected to have medicinal effects in treating geriatric and intractable diseases from regions of high plant diversity around the world. These sorts of plant materials, due to both their latent usefulness as well as their relative scarcity outside of certain localized regions, can be aptly described as "rare plants." Our research aims to develop a system for further evaluation of the activity and safety of such plants, by utilizing the LUPINES research platform, which combines geographical information systems with plant databases. Using LUPINES, we seek to elucidate the relationship between the elements of the indigenous environments of these rare plants and their pharmacological activity, while also collecting geographic information-based guiding principles for the future discovery of new rare plants. This research will advance the discovery of rare plant resources, and development of ways to safely utilize their latent usefulness, while also economically benefitting their countries of origin, and contributing to the research and development of functional food products and medicinal materials which use them as components. The development of LUPINES up until now has been conducted with participation from Professor Watanabe Takashi (Director of the Regional Coordinated Structures and Complementary Medicinal Resource Laboratory, among other positions at Kochi University of Technology), Professor Takagi Masataka (System Engineering Group at Kochi University of Technology), along with Professors Watanabe Hiroyuki (Health Studies Department) and Sugatama Narufumi (Medical Department) of the University of Kochi. The target for the surveys is wide indeed, encompassing Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan, and the Solomon Islands. Each region is expected to be a treasure-trove of undiscovered plant resources, and each is a region Professor Watanabe Takashi has studied in his past research (each place has a deep relationship with world traditional and historical medicine). A huge amount of survey data will be accumulated on LUPINES during the research period spanning the academic years from 2013 through 2017. This research will also be used as an opportunity to strengthen the functionality of LUPINES so that it can transmit its wide variety of information in English, making Kochi Prefecture a world-renowned base point for the transmission of plant resource data. * LUPINES = Local Useful Plants with Intelligent Networks of Exploring Surface

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2) Related Projects to the Plants as a Strategic Resource Project

  1. Egao Co., Ltd. and Kumamoto University School of Pharmacy Joint Research of Functional Food Products Course
  2. Commencement of Plants Academy Lectures (Construction of an agricultural, commercial, industrial, and medical coordinated framework and commercial strategies geared towards the utilization of useful plants which are under-utilized in industry)
  3. Commencement of the MEXT Project of Promote Universities as the Center of Communities (COC): Medicinal Herb Caravan in Kumamoto
  4. Commencement of the MEXT Project of Promote Universities as the Center of Communities (COC): Medicinal Herb Caravan in Kumamoto
    Commencement of the Food Culture Tourism Project: Food Caravan in Kochi

  5. Research and Development in Regional Field Activities Support Platform to Facilitate Utilization Expand the Content of Regional Plant Resource Data - 2010 and 2011 Academic Years MIC: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Strategic Information and Communications R&D Promotion Programme (SCOPE)
  6. Research and Development of Evaluation System for Cultivation Regions of Famine Relief Plants (to Store as Provisions for Use in Times of Natural Disaster) and a Regional Information Platform System for Real-Time Publication of Forestry Resources - 2012 Academic Year MIC: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Strategic Information and Communications R&D Promotion Programme (SCOPE) Research and Development Proposal for Regional ICT-Based Promotion of Research and Development
  7. Results Dissemination Workshops (Food Caravan) - "Rediscovering Hometown Plants - Cultivating Food Culture Tourism" - 2012 Academic Year MIC: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Strategic Information and Communications R&D Promotion Programme (SCOPE) Results Dissemination Project
  8. Creating an Inventory and Evaluating Usefulness and Safety or Rare Plants Using a Geographic Information Systems - 2014 to 2017 Academic Years Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research -KAKENHI- Basic Research (A)
  9. Evaluating Abundance of Forestry and Useful Plant Resources and Constructing Forecast Models for use in New Agro-Forestry Enterprises - 2014 to 2016 Academic Years Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research -KAKENHI- Basic Research (B)

Related Articles

  • Agricultural and Forestry Industry Experience Internship Project "Agri-Watching" Dec. 20 (Sun), Agricultural and Forestry Industry Experience Internship Project "Agri-Watching" Hosted by the Kochi Prefectural Board of Education
  • Publication of the "Kochi Prefecture Useful Plant Guidebook" by Regional Coordinated Structures Researcher and Guest Professor Watanabe Takashi, and Its Presentation to Kochi Prefecture
  • Commencement of Development of a Cultivation Area Evaluation System for Famine Relief Plants - 2012 Academic year proposed to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Strategic Information and Communications R&D Promotion Programme (SCOPE), adopted from the Research and Development of Evaluation System for Cultivation Regions of "Famine Relief Plants (to Store as Provisions for Use in Times of Natural Disaster)" and a Regional Information Platform System for Real-Time Publication of Forestry Resources Research Topic (Representative Researcher: Professor Takagi Masataka)

3) The Scenery of the Eco-Frontier Center of Medicinal Resources

Removal of weeds by the cultivation management technical staff (we support the idea that old fashioned hard work is fundamental)

Due to degradation of their natural growing environments, many plants are in imminent danger of extinction. Our botanical garden devotes considerable effort to preserving endangered plants outside of designated preservation areas. (Pictured: The Aquatic Plants Zone)

We grow many varieties of medicinal plants, included those used as base ingredients for ancient Chinese herbal medicine.
Pictured: Bupleurum falcatum (of the Apiaceae Family)
Bupleuri radix is an important medicinal plant that is a basic ingredient in the creation of many herbal medicines.

This Month's Medicinal Plant

This Month's Medicinal Plant
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    People interested in useful plants and traditional Chinese herbal medicine