RDG Conference Report of Cynthia T. Hedreyda

Write up about the Conference

The 1st international conference on “ASEAN Microbial Biotechnology Conference” was organized with the goal of providing a venue where researchers in the field of Microbial Biotechnology from the region can share research experiences and obtain updates on technology development and utilization of microbes for biotechnological application. The first two days included Plenary paper presentations in the morning,. a one hour poster presentation after lunch and simultaneous sessions of oral paper presentations (Agricultural Biotechnology, Industrial Biotechnology, Biofuels and Biorefinery, and Biofertilizers) after the poster session. On the third day of the conference, a meeting of representatives from different ASEAN countries was held to organize a network of researchers working on microbial biotechnology, in order to promote research capability and acceleration of technology development in the region..

On the first day February 19, 2014,the morning Plenary Speakers dealt with Industrial Biotechnology, Production of fuels and chemicals by Yeast, and a discussion on metabolic engineering in bacteria. Three poster papers from the Molecular Microbiology Laboratory of NIMBB were presented with two poster papers co-authored with Research Associate, Ms A. Mittsu Sarmago (also currently enrolled in the MS MBB Program). My oral presentation was in the Industrial Biotechnology afternoon session. An informal Welcome Reception was given to participants after the simultaneous sessions.

The second day morning Plenary Session discussed biorefinery technologies and new enzyme discoveries, microbial resources and climate change, and a topic about microfungi. The posters were viewed again after lunch after which simultaneous sessions of oral paper presentations were conducted under Medical and Environmental Biotechnology and a session on Biodiversity.

The meeting was participated by researchers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand and speakers from Sweden, UK, Australia, US, Japan,Denmark, and France.

Feedback on paper presented

Questions asked after the presentation were more on minor results and not much on the actual meat of the talk which is the use of molecular typing profile analysis. This could mean either the talk was well understood or the group in the session was not very familiar with the technique on using the molecular approach or DNA profile analysis for discriminating yeast strains.

Future directions of research presented

This is a completed project which has generated two publications. The results of the research showed that molecular typing procedures are useful tools to discriminate different strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.Delta typing and RAPD are recommended for use in discriminating yeast strainsthat are used not only for wine production but also for alcohol used for biofuel industry. The other aspect of the research which could serve as projects for undergraduate research is search for specific genes with sequence variation that could help distinguish strains with different alcohol tolerance capability.

Potential foreign collaborators

Possibility of linking with other colleagues in the ASEAN region working on microbial biotechnology but nothing definite

Other important contacts and insights

We had the chance to link with the organizers from Thailand the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) for possible cooperative and collaborative discussions and junior scientist exchange training activities.

Short write-up of one’s participation (to be used to feature/publicize the grantee’s participation in the conference)

Four papers (one oral presentation and 3 poster papers) from the Molecular Microbiology Laboratory of NIMBB UP Diliman were presented  during the  1st ASEAN Microbial Biotechnology Conference (AMBC2014) which was held in Bangkok, Thailand last February 19-21 2014. The oral paper presentation of Dr. Hedreyda that was included in the Industrial Biotechnology session, described the use of DNA profile analysis called molecular typing in attempting to discriminate wine strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (strains used in production of fruit wine) from a non-wine control strain. DNA sequence differences between strains are expected to generate different size DNA fragments in a procedure called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). When the DNA fragments are viewed after gel electrophoresis, difference in size of DNA fragments produced could help distinguish one strain from another. Two poster papers were under Environmental Biotechnology and involved the detection, isolation and sequencing of genes from a bacterium that could utilize bunker oil. The third poster involved detection, isolation and sequencing of genes from two species of Vibrio that infects black tiger shrimps. The participation of papers from the NIMBB UP Diliman was an opportunity to make colleagues in the ASEAN region know that microbial biotechnology research and that molecular approaches are being conducted in the country. Moreover, the research papers are co-authored with students and former students, indicating our attempt to train young researchers in microbial biotechnology. This is expected to pave the way for future links with other research institutions for collaborative activities to further promote research in this area of microbiology.