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【参・企英・研究】カテゴリタイトル

R & D

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Medicinal Plant Cultivation Techniques

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The Oji Group possesses many tissue culturing and gene analysis-related forest tree breeding technologies, including superior species selection technologies developed through research on the plantation trees used as raw materials for paper making. At the Medicinal Plant Section, research is focused on the field of medicinal plants where there is potential as a market for these research assets to be utilized effectively.

Licorice Cultivation Techniques

1) The Circumstances Leading to Cultivation in Japan

Licorice is a medicinal plant used in around 70% of traditional medicines and it is also used widely in cosmetics, foods, and sanitary goods. Currently, Japan depends mostly on wild licorice from China and Central Asia as a raw material, but recently, there are problems such as price hikes and procurement difficulties due to the fear of depletion due to increased demand and China regulating wild licorice export.

(The price index for licorice, the most-used, shifted from 146 to 163 to 186 over the three years from 2011 to 2013, and it is getting close to doubling)

(Source) 2011-12 Investigation Report on Crude Drug Material Usage

Because of these circumstances, a lot of research is being conducted in Japan on cultivation techniques, but the techniques for cultivating licorice in a short period of time that meets the standard in the Japanese Pharmacopoeia 17th edition (containing 2.0% or more of glycyrrhizin), and for mechanizing the cultivation process, have yet to be established.

2) Success Cultivating Plants with Sufficient Medicinal Content from Seeds in a Short Period of Time

As a result of gene expression analysis on licorice cultivated under various conditions, we have established cultivation techniques that improve the content of glycyrrhizin to more than the standard in a short period of time (18 months from sowing to harvesting), and have succeeded at verification tests at a company-owned farm.  

Licorice seedlings 16 months after sowing
Licorice seedlings 16 months after sowing

Licorice roots harvested 18 months after sowing
Licorice roots harvested 18 months after sowing

Going forward, we will build a new business based on the cultivation of Japanese licorice that possesses the high levels of quality and traceability demanded by our customers, aiming for its sale as a raw material for medicines, such as traditional medicines, and use in cosmetics, everyday items, and other goods.

オタネニンジンの苗園01

オタネニンジンの苗園02

                                                      Panax ginseng cultivation

Utilizing Our Forest Resources

In addition to licorice, we are also considering ways to utilize the many species of medicinal plants that grow wild in 126,000 ha of company-owned forest in Hokkaido.

Examples of medicinal plants that have been identified growing in Oji’s company-owned forest

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