S. Korea launches 10-year project to nurture microbiome industry by injecting $968.5 mln state fund

By Lim Chang-won Posted : December 29, 2021, 16:15 Updated : December 29, 2021, 16:15

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- The microbiome is the genetic material of all the microbes -- bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses -- that line on and inside the body of animals. Humans are colonized by many microorganisms. Some co-exist without harming humans and others have a mutualistic relationship with their human hosts. Non-pathogenic microorganisms can harm human hosts. 

In a project involving nine government agencies, the Ministry of Science and ICT said the government would provide full support to establish an industrial microbiome ecosystem, build a state microbiome big data center and train professionals. "We will provide full support for the growth and revitalization of an industrial ecosystem along with the integrated policy promotion of microbiome, which is seen as the key to solving major human challenges," said Minister Lim Hye-sook said on December 29.

In August 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs unveiled a project to build a microbiome resource center in Sunchang some 244 kilometers (152 miles) south of Seoul to create a database of microorganisms by collecting resources and genetic information. The database will be shared with various sectors including the medical and food sectors to help enterprises beef up their capabilities.

At the center, some 3,500 microbiome samples will be collected from the soil, plants, animal feces, and food by 2023. About 1,000 samples will be added to the database annually. Samples will be used for the identification and analytics of microorganisms. Collected data will be shared with related industries to help the development of new technologies and products. The center will house analysis equipment for microbial genomes, ultra-low temperature preservation facilities, and laboratories for animal experimentation.

기사 이미지 확대 보기