Bioconversion is to convert an inexpensive substance to a valuable one by using metabolic functions. Our laboratories study the production of biosurfactants, which are expected to be utilized for cosmetics and drugs.
While bacteria are known as unicellular organisms, they exert various functions by interacting with each other. Our laboratory analyzes cell-cell communication via signal compounds (quorum sensing) and interactions via membrane vesicles to understand their biological roles. We also expect to establish new biotechnologies based on our new understandings.
Many bacteria live in actual environment forming biofilm, which are cell aggregates covered with extracellular matrix. Dental plaques, microbial mats, aggregates (flocks) in water, and activated sludge used in effluent treatment are also closely related with biofilms. In our laboratory, we have developed an original microscopy system to analyze biofilms. It is expected that the research achievements will lead to improvement of water treatment technology using activated sludge or prevention and therapy of infection caused by pathogenic bacterium in the future.