Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., a leader in serving science, and National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Ministry of Science and Technology have signed a memorandum of understanding for research collaboration.

Through this collaboration, researchers from BIOTEC and Thermo Fisher will employ a wide range of analytical tools including state-of-the-art high-resolution accurate mass spectrometry (HRAM) system to identify bioactive metabolites derived from microbes. Together, the companies aim to expedite the process of novel metabolite discovery and identify bioactive compounds against fungal pathogens that damage economically important crops in Thailand. The bioactive compounds to be discovered in this project could potentially replace chemical fungicides usage in agriculture. This will not only result in more environmentally friendly agricultural products, but also improvement of the product quality and safety for consumers.

Thailand possesses great microbial diversity and abundance, which used in various applications including medicine, petrochemicals, biotechnology and agriculture. However, the use of microbes as a source of commercial bioactive natural products has not been fully realized, due to the cost and difficulty of traditional natural product discovery and identification processes.

Present in the signing ceremony were Kanyawim Kirtikara, Ph.D., executive director of the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) and Pang Sze Hann, vice president and general manager for Southeast Asia and Taiwan at Thermo Fisher.

“Thermo Scientific Orbitrap mass spectrometry technology has been a game changing analytical innovation since its introduction in 2005,” said Mr. Hann. “Based on the significant volume of publications in Science and Nature, many early adopters have managed to propel their scientific ventures forward. The application of this technology in system biology study such as metabolomics has led to advancements in various life science and biomedical fields. Its application to Asia-centric natural products research has not yet been fully realized. We look forward to this collaboration and its future contributions to science and the wider community.”

Kanyawim Kirtikara, Ph.D., said,The utilization of biodiversity has always been central to BIOTEC interest. From the early days of BIOTEC, we recognized the significance of natural products from microbes and initiated the natural product discovery program by establishing the research infrastructure in this area in Thailand. After two decades, our research program has continually progressed to demonstrate that microorganisms in Thailand have immense potential for bioactive compound mining; and that we have the research capacity to advance to the next level. This collaboration will enable BIOTEC to acquire natural product-specific metabolome profiles using Thermo Fisher’s state-of-the-art high resolution accurate mass spectrometry and its expertise in integrating various techniques in analytical chemistry and bioinformatics for fast separation and automated data analysis. Furthermore, this collaboration will provide opportunities for BIOTEC researchers to learn from scientists at Thermo Fisher, one of the world largest technology companies with extensive expertise in metabolomics. Last but not least, I would like to share my hope that this collaboration is a beginning of a long and prosperous relationship between Thermo Fisher Scientific and BIOTEC.”