High-Impact Research Achievements 2019

The MAFF Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council in collaboration with the agricultural technology association selects 10 research achievements every year with high-impact and significant contribution to society. The high-impact research achievements are selected from research outputs of national research institutes, public research institutes, universities and private enterprises published in newspapers. Five researches from NARO were among the 10 research achievements selected for 2019.

Development of an effective water distribution management control using ICT

The Institute for Rural Engineering, NARO (NIRE) has developed a water management control system that efficiently distributes water based on its usage by linking the pumping stations controlled by the land improvement district and the automatic hydrants in farms managed by farmers using ICT. The Irrigation and Drainage Automation System (iDAS) is expected to contribute in labor saving for facility managers in paddy field irrigation areas, saving in use of agricultural water, and saving in energy consumption of pumps. Read more

High duty cycle pulses suppress orientation flights of crambid moths

Night-flying insects have been under predation pressure from echolocating bats for 65 Myr, pressuring vulnerable moths to evolve ultrasound detection and evasive maneuvers as counter tactics. Past studies of defensive behaviors against attacking bats have been biased toward noctuoid moth responses to short duration pulses of low-duty-cycle (LDC) bat calls. Depending on the region, however, moths have been exposed to predation pressure from high-duty-cycle (HDC) bats as well. Here, we reveal that long duration pulse of the sympatric HDC bat (e.g., greater horseshoe bat) is easily detected by the auditory nerve of Japanese crambid moths (yellow peach moth and Asian corn borer) and suppress both mate-finding flights of virgin males and host-finding flights of mated females. Read more

Establishment of new method for early diagnosis of bovine mastitis

-Early detection of Staphylococcus aureus mastitis by small NMR-

Mastitis in dairy cattle by Staphylococcus aureus results in reduced milk yield and milk quality, and thereby dairy farmers may suffer from financial loss. Hence early detection and treatment is important. RIKEN and National Agricultural Research Institute (NARO) has discovered a method for early diagnosis of mastitis by measuring milk with Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). They focused on the specific surface area of microparticles contained in milk and found that value of specific surface area decreases for the mastitis milk infected with Staphylococcus aureus. Early detection of mastitis even before the onset of symptoms is possible since the value is obtained in real time, which is expected to contribute to damage control.

Development of a robot for swine building cleaning in medium-scale pig farms

Institute of Agricultural Machinery, NARO (IAM/NARO) collaborated with the above listed public and private enterprises and developed a robot for cleaning swine buildings. The target is for pig farms with 200 mother pigs, which cover majority of the Japanese pig farms. This robot can replace farmers in carrying out the cleaning work in swine buildings under severe environments. By the thorough cleaning and disinfection, the risk of the diseases will be reduced ensuring the safety and reliability to the consumers. Read more

A rice gene for sheath blight resistance that also increases flower size

Rice sheath blight is one of the two major diseases of rice cultivation in Japan. Development of sheath blight resistant rice cultivars and development of new control methods are desired since the countermeasures rely on cultivation management such as fertilization and control using antifungal agents. Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, NARO (NIAS) in collaboration with RIKEN Yokohama and Okayama Prefectural Technology Center for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has discovered a rice gene, BSR2, that is resistant to sheath blight disease, and capable of enlarging flower size. In the future, the disease resistance mechanism of BSR2 gene will be investigated and strive for the development of new control method for Rice sheath blight. This gene is expected to be used for developing larger disease resistant ornament flowers.