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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Symposium highlights benefits of microbes

Brunei’s microbial diversity is largely untapped, but has the potential to support the economic diversification of the country.

That was the key message emanating from a high level symposium, in Brunei Dar us salam [November 27] where CABI scientists outlined the important role that any new Biological Resource Centre would play in managing the Brunei’s genetic microbial resources.

Biological Resource Centres are key to preserving and conserving the worlds’ microorganisms. These reference centres collect, maintain, characterize and advise on the availability of microorganisms, preserving authentic materials for the future. Brunei, currently doesn't have one.

According to Dr Bridge, “the country has a diverse range of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Improved coordination and management of this resource has the potential to deliver commercial benefits across a range of sectors including agriculture, and the food industry to pharmaceutical.”

The CABI team, consisting of Drs David Smith, Paul Bridge and Keng-Yeang Lum, had the opportunity to interact with the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources individually, where they were able to articulate the current status of Brunei’s microbial resource collections and how, with CABI expertise, the initiative to develop and fund a Biological Resource Centre would help to underpin the bioeconomy.

Brunei is a longstanding and important member country for CABI. In recent years, CABI has worked alongside the Government and Department of Agriculture of Brunei Darussalam to strengthened local capacity across a range of disciplines. Along with the development of a Biological Resource Centre, focus areas of collaboration have included integrated pest and disease management both in crop production and postharvest and the introduction of phytosanitary measures to promote and protect agricultural trade.