In recent years, “rapid” climate change has worsened the growing environment and conventional crop varieties can no longer be grown stably on conventional farmland. Because evolution is a naturally slow process, there is an increasing need for novel techniques to induce favourable adaptations. To solve these problems, QFF aims to provide solutions to better protect against diseases, poor crop yields and heat damage.
Fastest Breeding Technology Ever Neutron Breeding
Create your Desired Strain Quickly
Using neutron beams (quantum rays), which is ionizing radiation, we can induce mutations in biological organisms. While gamma and heavy ion radiation takes 3 to 5 years to create a desired strain, neutron beam radiation can create a new eukaryotic strain (including flowers, vegetables and grains etc.) in only 1 to 3 years*1. Furthermore, we can create your desired microorganism strain in a minimum of one week*2.
Mutation Rate 15-300 times
Higher Than Conventional Technology
The fast neutron beam used in Neutron Breeding is a high-LET (Linear Energy Transfer) beam, which has the advantage of easily obtaining “large mutations” with “high efficiency” in a single irradiation dose because it cuts multiple double strands of DNA with high energy.
In the case of rice (Nihonbare) and Arabidopsis thaliana, the mutation rate is 3-26% in the 2nd generation. This is 15-300 times higher than currently prevailing mutation rates achieved by EMS (chemical mutagens), gamma rays or heavy ion rays (radiation).
Mutation Rate of our Neutron Breeding
(growth point) actual data *
> look at the photo
Rice (NIHONBARE) and
actual data (2nd generation) *
*Higher dose irradiation can also improve the mutation rate.
The Outstanding Mutagenic Ability of Neutron Beams
Unlocking the Potential of Cells
Highly penetrating neutron beams induce small to large mutations with high efficiency by breaking DNA double strands at multiple locations. Because of the probability theory, a certain effect of irradiation is always produced, the time it takes to create a new variety can be significantly shortened.
Gamma-rays / X-rays
Heavy ion beams
Neutron Breeding is highly versatile and can be used not only for most plants, but also for microorganisms. There are numerous applications for this biotechnology including cosmetics, carbon fixation, agriculture, the floral, foods, chemical and bioleaching industries. In particular, the high penetrability of fast neutron beams make it possible to irradiate plant seeds, nodes, scions and also microorganism cultures.
Irradiation to Cultures and Microorganisms
Neutron beams, which have no electric charge, are highly penetrating and radioactive. Therefore, neutron beams can uniformly irradiate objects in culture media that contain water. In comparison, heavy ion beams have an electric charge and low permeability and so this type of radiation is less appropriate for inducing mutations in microorganism cultures.
Furthermore, neutron beams are far more efficient of producing random mutations* than X-rays and gamma rays. We can irradiate living organisms at a very low dose (1/20th of the dose of gamma rays) to achieve a successful outcome. This is important because it is easier to obtain useful traits in microorganisms whose genomes are mostly unknown.*Random mutation: A mutation induced by random knockout, rather than by knockout of a specific gene in the DNA sequence in genome editing
Neutron Irradiation Experience at QFF
Plants *Irradiation to seeds, growth points, scions, seedlings, OC cells, callus, etc
Morning glory / Chrysanthemum / Small chrysanthemum (see below) / Stock / Eustoma grandiflorum / Carnation / Rice (Nipponbare,Sasanishiki) / Soybean / Arabidopsis thaliana / Microtom / Tomato / Burdock root / Pear / Carrot / Cabbage / Root / Broccoli /Lettuce / Sweet potato / Strawberry / Chamomile / Onion / Leek / Spores / Perilla leaves / Spinach / Celery / Komatsuna, etc.
Microorganisms *Irradiation to cultures
Microalgae / Yeast / E.coli / Lactic acid bacteria / East, etc.
Possible to irradiate Prokaryotes, Eukaryotes, Archaea, etc.
Neutron Breeding for
Original variety (Small chrysanthemum)
In 1 year*5, many types of mutants with different flower colors, patterns, number and shape of petals, flowering time, etc. are created.
*4 Joint research by Quantum Agriculture Association and the Biotechnology Research Institute, Ibaraki Prefectural Agricultural Research Center. Neutron irradiation technology provided by Quantum Flowers & Foods Co., Ltd. *5 In the case of flowers and other cultures, new strains can be produced in as little as one year. (Further research on yield and marketability is required before the variety can be registered.)
A neutron beam is a focused stream of fast neutrons produced in a particle accelerator. Neutrons are uncharged therefore, they are not inherently radioactive but once they interact with a radioactive material, radioactive isotopes are temporarily produced. Plant products and microorganisms naturally have radioactive atoms within their structures and when they interact with a neutron beam, the subsequent radioactive isotope causes a double-stranded DNA break.
Cosmic rays are a source of fast neutrons and minimally influence the natural progression of evolution on our planet. At QFF we accelerate this natural process through human methods.
In order to ensure the safety of our customers, we use survey meters such as “GM” counter to detect the levels of radioactivity in our irradiated products. In accordance to Japanese law, we make sure that our products do not exceed the natural background radiation levels so that they are completely safe to handle.
Number of registered varieties by radiation-induced mutation breeding:
about 3,248 varieties* worldwide. *<ref.> https://katosei.jsbba.or.jp/view_html.php?aid=886
Although neutron beam technology has been studied overseas, we are the first private company to apply this technology and supply real world solutions. The hurdle for its use has been extremely high because there are only four neutron source particle accelerators in the world: J-PARC, Kyoto University (KUANS), Oak Ridge SNS and ISIS. Thanks to our alliance network, led by world-class scientists, we have succeeded in implementing neutron breeding technology as “Neutron Breeding Service” in Japan.
QFF has developed “neutron beam breeding technology,” which induces mutation by irradiating seeds and other materials with neutron beams. We have obtained 2 patents for these technologies. International patents are also applied for in the U.S. and Europe.
Open Innovation & Partners at QFF
QFF conducts joint research in neutron beam technology with KEK, J-PARC, JRR-3 and Kyoto University (KUANS). Ibaraki University, Tohoku University and Tsukuba University have been paramount in aiding our research into improving our biochemical and breeding technology.
We are interested in collaborating with overseas research partners. Please contact us for more information.
– JAPAN’S GAME CHANGING
QUANTUM TECHNOLOGY –
New Quantum Biotech Business