Bioscience boosted rubber production the aim of Bridgestone joint research
Indonesia is the world’s second largest natural rubber producer, with figures from the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries putting the number of hectares under cultivation at 3,445,000 and those under tapping at 2,773,000. With an aim of further enhancing this production, Bridgestone Corporation has entered into a cooperative research project agreement with two other parties. News of the project between Bridgestone and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and the Indonesian Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (Badan Pengkajian dan Penerapan Teknologi, or BPPT) was announced on February 24 at a press conference held at the BPPT office in Jakarta.
Bridgestone says it will “use its resources to contribute to the future development of the natural rubber industry in Indonesia” and at present the three parties are “working out the details of the joint research contract,” clarifying each participant’s role in the combined bioscience research into methods of increasing natural rubber production. The project is officially titled the “BPPT-AIST-Bridgestone Para Rubber Tree Project” and its specific research theme is the development of molecular breeding technology to increase latex production.
This project is one of several Bridgestone is engaged in with a view of further developing the natural rubber industry, and the tyre maker says it chose to enter the agreement following the establishment of an international research cooperative created through a comprehensive research coordination agreement between the AIST and BPPT.
The AIST is one of Japan’s largest public research institutions and it supports Japanese industries through conducting research in six diverse fields: environment and energy, life science and biotechnology, information technology and electronics, nanotechnology, materials and manufacturing, metrology and measurement science, and geological survey and applied geoscience. AIST has headquarters in Tokyo and Tsukuba, as well as eight other research bases located throughout Japan. Currently the organisation employs over 3,000 people, including more than 2,000 researchers.
The BPPT, a non-departmental government agency under the coordination of the Indonesian Ministry of Research and Technology, was founded in 1978. The agency is responsible for government initiatives in the fields of technology assessment and application. From 2002 to 2010, Bridgestone conducted research in cooperation with the BPPT and its Center for Biotechnology as part of a project headed by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). Since 2010, Bridgestone has also worked with the BPPT in a project conducted through NEDO’s Official Development Assistance to research measures that will prevent disease in Para Rubber Trees.