Prof. James Chukwuma Ogbonna (former Deputy Vice-Chancellor) of the Department of Microbiology, University of Nigeria and a JIRCAS research collaborator was one of the recipients of the Foreign Minister’s Commendation for 2020 as announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Foreign Minister’s Commendation is awarded to individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in international fields, in order to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries. The Commendation also aims to promote the understanding and support of the Japanese public for the activities of the recipient.
Prof. Ogbonna collaborated with JIRCAS on the development of bioethanol production technology from agricultural waste in Nigeria in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) project on the “Development of climate change mitigation technology by effective utilization of agricultural waste in developing countries” (2013-2017). This research collaboration facilitated the isolation and selection of yeast strains with high stress tolerance and fermentability. This yeast strain led to the realization of large-scale fuel ethanol production from cassava residue and a technical model that can be introduced locally. In addition, the impact of introducing this technology in Nigeria was highly evaluated in terms of economic, social, and environmental impacts of the system. Professor Obonna has also contributed significantly to the analysis of the social impact of technology introduction.
At the international workshop on “Sustainable Rural Bioenergy Solutions in Africa” co-sponsored by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) and JIRCAS in Nairobi, Kenya in January 2018, Professor Obonna gave a presentation on the production of ethanol from cassava processing waste in Nigeria in the session on Biomass to Energy Innovations.
Professor Obonna also taught applied biochemistry as an Associate Professor at the University of Tsukuba from 1995 to 2002 and has published many papers and books on microbial fermentation and bioprocess engineering. As of 2020, he is still active as a researcher and has been energetically publishing research papers. We would like to congratulate Professor Obonna, a collaborator of JIRCAS, for the award.