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Why is MRCPP unique?
Indonesia has a great demand for food, health and sustainable energy. The answer to these demands can be given in one word, PHOTOSYNTHESIS. The exploration and the exploitation of photosynthesis could lead to those demands and thus make it possible to create industries and a prosperous society. Indonesia is meeting an excellent position with regard to its biodiversity in photosynthetic organisms.
The Indonesian archipelago is situated between the Asian and the Australian continents and between the Pacific and the Indian oceans. Geographically it is located between 94°-141°E and 6°N-11°S. It consists of 17,667 islands with more than 81,000 km of coastal line, making Indonesia the epicentre of marine and terrestrial biodiversity on planet. Chlorophylls and carotenoids are, beyond any doubt, the most visible and most abundant pigment on Earth. Both pigments derive their ultimate importance from their role as key pigments which capture radiant energy from the sun for plant, algal and bacterial photosynthesis, a process which supports life on Earth, and even non-photosynthesizing life forms such as animals, including human being. The oxygen that we breathe and the biomass that we use for food, feedstock as well as increasingly bio-energy are products of photosynthesis.
Research in the field of photosynthesis, however, has not been seen as an important object of study for many years by the Indonesian research institutions and scientists. The abundance of exotic natural resources rather attracts most of the researchers to explore and to discover minor secondary metabolites such as alkaloids, terpenoids, natural phenols, etc, whose quantity in nature is limited.
Based on this, Ma Chung Research Centre for Photosynthetic Pigments (MRCPP) was initiated in 2007 and officially founded in 2009 as the core research centre in Indonesia that dedicates its research to study photosynthetic pigments. We aim to understand the structure-function as well as the properties of these pigments. We then translate this knowledge with the support of the development of biotechnology, nanotechnology, modern infrastructure and expert scientists to do applied research in order to utilize the photosynthetic pigments for their application in food, health as well as bio-energy.
Tatas H.P. Brotosudarmo, Ph.D