HOMESub-projects

Sub-projects

Current animal protein production is dependent on natural resources in the ocean (fishmeal), which makes it vulnerable to climate change and population growth, and incompatible with space exploration. Therefore, there is an urgent need to secure sustainable unused resources that can replace fishmeal. In this project, we aim to establish insects that can convert crop residues and food wastes into useful animal proteins as raw materials for fish and livestock feed to replace fishmeal, and to utilize them as a new biological resource to support human food, health, and the environment. Furthermore, we will develop an insect production system that can be adapted to any environment on earth and advance it into a recycling food production system that supports the safe and secure food and health of human in space.
In this project, six sub-projects have been set up to conduct complementary and synergistic research and development with each other in order to ensure the achievement of the objectives. First, we will conduct "genomic breeding" to increase the added value and productivity of crickets and black soldier flies, which will serve as the basis for all subprojects (Subproject 1). The insects produced in this way will be used to construct a platform for converting crop residues and food wastes into protein sources for livestock, fish farming, and humans (subprojects 2, 3, and 4). Also, we will make this platform applicable to extreme environments and space (subproject 5). All of these sub-projects will receive support for "social implementation" through outreach activities and venture creation (sub-project 6). These six sub-projects will be implemented in parallel and will contribute to the spread and development of "insect-based food production" to solve the global food problems that are looming in the near future.

Subproject 1:
Insect Genome Breeding

The goal of this subproject is to produce crickets and black soldier flies that are large, grow quickly, have low rates of inbreeding, cannibalism, and disease, and are safe and nutritious. In the history of mankind, only silkworm and honeybee have been established as domesticated insects, and this project proposes the realization of domestication of crickets and black soldier flies through genomic breeding. In addition, we will promote the industrialization of domesticated insect production by integrating and organizing databases of genetic information, phenotypes, and nutritional values of crickets and water bugs.

▶ Project Members

  • Teikichi IKURA, Project Associate Professort, Institute for Human Life Innovation, Ochanomizu University
  • Takuya UEHARA, Research Scientist, Insect Interaction Research Unit, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), Japan
  • Taishi UMEZAWA, Professor, Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
  • Atsushi OGURA, Professor, Nagahama Institute of Bioengineering
  • Kosuke KATAOKA, Junior Researcher (Assistant Professor), Comprehensive Research Organization, Waseda University
  • Naoki KABEYA, Assistant Professor, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
  • Kazuhiro SATOMURA, Project Assistant Professor, Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology
  • Masami SHIMODA, Professor, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Tokyo University
  • Hiromasa TABATA Project Assistant Professor, Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology
  • Yuichi NAKAJIMA, Project Assistant Professor, Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology
  • Yutaka HAGA, Associate Professor, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
  • Taro MITO, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Technology, Industrial and Social Science, Tokushima University
  • Shinsuke MORIOKA, Senior Researcher, Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences
  • Kei YURA, Professor, Ochanomizu University/Waseda University
  • Takahito WATANABE, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Bioscience and Bioindustry / Bio-Innovation Research Center, Tokushima University
  • Ki-Hyeon SEONG, Tenured Researcher, Insect Interaction Research Unit, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO)
  • Liu CHIA-MING, Tenured Researcher, Insect Interaction Research Unit, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO)
Subproject 2:
Development of Eco-friendly Insect Production Systems

Based on the concept of "One Health", we aim to construct a plant-cricket hybrid food production system that enables the supply of safe and secure food while maintaining the health of animals, plants, and the environment. To achieve this goal, this subproject will develop materials for a portable, energy-saving food production system, as well as sensors and actuators necessary for full automation. We will also develop an eco-feed for crickets derived from crop or food residues that does not compete with livestock feed.

▶ Project Members

  • Toru ASAHI, Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
  • Takeshi SUZUKI, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
  • Takuya TANIGUCHI, Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
  • Yukana TERASAWA, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
  • Katsuyuki MIYAWAKI, Faculty of Bioscience and Bioindustry, Tokushima University / Institute for Bio-Innovation Research Center, Tokushima University (Concurrent appointment)
  • Takahiko YANAGITANI, Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
Subproject 3:
Development of Insect-derived Fishery and Livestock Feed

The goal of this project is to utilize high-quality crickets and black soldier flies as a safe and inexpensive alternative feed for fishmeal. For this purpose, this subproject will develop advanced processing technologies for crickets and black soldier flies to prevent the loss of nutritional and functional components. Furthermore, through the understanding of the digestion mechanism of insect proteins in marine fish, we will design optimized feeds. At the same time, we will also develop technology to prevent contamination of bottom sediment in aquaculture farms through real-time monitoring of the bottom sediment environment.

▶ Project Members

  • Tadashi ANDO, Fisheries Technology Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency
  • Kazumasa IKUTA, Fellow, Fisheries Research and Education Agency, Japan
  • Kenji ISHIHARA, Fisheries Technology Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency
  • Katsutoshi ITOH, Fisheries Technology Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency
  • Mana ITOH, Fisheries Technology Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency
  • Shintaro IMAMURA, Fisheries Technology Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency
  • Takuji OKUMURA, Fisheries Technology Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency
  • Hiroyuki KAWACHI, Associate Professor, Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology
  • Masakazu SAITO, Project Assistant Professor, Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology, appointed in April 2021
  • Tsuyoshi SHIMMURA, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
  • Takuya SEKO, Fisheries Technology Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency
  • Ryuhei NAKAMURA, Team Leader, Biofunctional catalyst research team, RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science / Professor, Earth-Life science institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Takeshi HANO, Fisheries Technology Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency
  • Hirofumi FURUITA, Fisheries Technology Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency
  • Tetsuya FURUYA, Professor, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
  • Hiroyuki MATSUNARI, Fisheries Technology Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency
  • Yasujiro MORIMITSU, Professor, Core Research Institute, Ochanomizu University
  • Hazuki YOSHINAGA, Fisheries Technology Institute, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency
  • Wuled LENGGORO, Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
Subproject 4:
Cricket-Based Food Development

The goal of this project is to utilize crickets as a safe and highly functional food source. To achieve this goal, this subproject will evaluate the safety of crickets, verify their nutritional functionality, and conduct research and development on food processing technology to add functionality while ensuring safety. For example, we will analyze allergenic substances and apply genome editing technology to create low-allergen crickets. We will also develop functional food that support the health of the elderly and patients with digestive disorders.

▶ Project Members

  • Kiyo SAKAGAMI, Project Assistant Professor, Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology
  • Nobuo NAGAI, Professor, Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology
  • Takeshi NIKAWA, Professor, Institute of Medical Biosciences, Tokushima University Graduate School / Manager, Insitute of Space Nutrition, Tokushima University
  • Yasuki MATANO, Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Appointed in April 2021
Subproject 5:
Development of Elemental Technologies for Space Exploration

The goal of this project is to develop the elemental technologies necessary for a food production system that will support human advancement into space. For this purpose, this subproject will produce varieties of crickets and black soldier flies that are resistant to extreme environments such as zero gravity, cosmic rays, and low oxygen. Furthermore, we will develop a fully automated space eco-farm by simultaneously developing energy-saving information and communication devices, IoT software, and research and development on full automation of production and processing with advanced artificial intelligence technology and high cyber security capabilities.

▶ Project Members

  • Akira TAKAHASHIi, Professor, School of Medical Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Tokushima University
  • Hiroko TABUNNOKI, Professor, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
  • Nozomu TOGAWA, Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
  • Hironori WASHIZAKI, Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
Subproject 6:
Social Implementation

The goal of this project is to create social innovations to establish the insect-based food industry in society. To this end, this subproject will send appropriate information and provide outreach activities for research results in emerging fields. Furthermore, we will build a system to actively implement venture creation and overseas expansion based on research seeds. From the perspective of fostering the next generation of human resources and creating new industries, we will also provide support for the creation of start-ups.

▶ Project Members

  • Takashi KAWAI, Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
  • Osamu NAKAMURA, Associate Professor, Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University
  • Nobuhiko HIBARA, Associate Professor, Faculty of Commerce, Waseda University
  • Hiroaki YAMAMOTO, Emeritus Professor, Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology