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Southeast Asians to Train on Rapid Identification of Food-Borne Pathogens

Ten researchers and technical staff from government biotech research institutions in Southeast Asia will train on the rapid identification of food-borne pathogens using biotechnological tools at the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation - Biological Resource Center (NBRC) in Chiba, Japan on 12-15 February 2013. The four-day event is co-organized with NBRC by SEARCA and the Asian Consortium for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Microorganisms (ACM).
The training will involve lectures on food microbiology and food safety, technical information on biotechnological tools for pathogen detection, a hands-on laboratory exercise on various rapid identification test methods, and tours to food testing facilities and factories. Through its Biotechnology Information Center (BIC), SEARCA will sponsor 10 participants from the Southeast Asian region—two participants each from Lao PDR, Thailand, and the Philippines; and one participant each from Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
Consuming unsafe food is the cause of many acute and life-long diseases, ranging from diarrheal to various forms of cancer. It was estimated by the World Health Organization that about 2.2 million people succumb to water-borne diarrheal diseases annually. This training hopes to contribute to the food safety capacity of the participating countries through rapid detection of pathogens which is considered the first step for early disease prevention and control of food-borne diseases from microorganisms.
The course is the second joint capacity building activity of SEARCA and ACM. It was preceded by a training course held in Thailand on 23-27 May 2011 on the long-term preservation and management of microbial resources attended by around 70 researchers, lecturers, and PhD students from Southeast Asian countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, and Myanmar.
The potentials of biotechnology in meeting the challenges to food security and the importance of food safety are recognized by SEARCA as part of its priority areas and the BIC has remained at the forefront in promoting capacity development on biotechnology to various stakeholders in the region.
ACM is a group of public research and government institutions and organizations in Asia which aims “to promote collaboration among government or public organizations in Asian countries for the purposes of enhancing conservation and sustainable use of microbial resources in Asia.” NBRC in Japan promotes basic research and industrial applications through collection and distribution of potentially useful biological resources (microorganisms and cloned genes), and promotes the preservation of microbial resources in its collection.

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