Forests and Human Health September-15-2011

Research activities


More and more academic studies dealing with Chinese herbal medicine have been receiving great attention in China

The use of herbs is a very old and highly esteemed tradition in China. Over three hundred herbs that are commonly being used today have a history that goes back at least 2,000 years. The most important herb materials were listed in the Compendium of Materia medica (Bunco Gangue) compiled during the Ming dynasty, which is still used today for consultation and reference. Nature, especially the forest, provides unlimited raw materials for the pharmacy industry of Chinese herbal medicine.

To make the Chinese Materia Medica to to meet the international drug standards, is a great challenge. Starting from May 1, 2011 herbal, medicinal products, most of which have been sold as food supplements for decades in the EU market, are no longer to be allowed unless they have obtained a medicine license, according to the EU traditional herbal medicinal products directive adopted in 2004. To make the Chinese Materia Medica to to meet the international drug standards, is a great challenge.

The Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism at Shanghai Jiao Tong University was established as a key laboratory of the State Ministry of Education in 2005. It is mainly investigating bioactive secondary metabolites of microorganisms including synthesis and degradation pathways.

The State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor Engineering (SKLBE) at the East China University of Science and Technology was initiated in 1989. The research in SKLBE is focused on the engineering aspects as well as the fundamental aspects of bioreactor engineering-related disciplines. Research areas include bioprocess engineering, including industrial fermentation, metabolic engineering, biocatalysis and enzyme engineering, large-scale animal and plant cell culture, tissue engineering and biomaterials, marine biotechnology, and biomass energy and biobased chemicals, etc. They put a great deal of effort into finding evidence of mechanism for medical functions of wild mushrooms and mass-producing bioactive products.

For a recent review, see (Zhong J.J. and Xiao J.H. 2009. Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology 113:79-150).

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