That is great! This research achievement is the result of your efforts.
Katayama:We spend most of the research time on the extraction of chemical substances. When we apply a purification process to soil and water, we need to evaluate whether they become indeed clean. In other words, we need to examine whether a hazardous chemical substance is eliminated, and if so, we need to determine what is produced by eliminating the chemical substance. This means that analyzing the components remaining in soil and water is a large part of our work.
To investigate the microorganisms that are involved in purification processes, we need to prepare an environment that is the same as their natural environment. For example, microorganisms that are active in an environment without oxygen can only be treated in an environment without oxygen. Therefore, keeping anaerobic microorganisms requires skillful handling, which is very important for our research. I describe researchers with such skills, who can keep anaerobic microorganisms, as having “God’s hands”.
Do you have a message for young researchers?
Katayama:I would like young researchers to have courage and to have an inquiring mind, rather than to just follow others. Accepted wisdom that has conventionally been considered common sense can sometimes be shattered. Therefore, I hope young researchers will believe in themselves and follow their own paths. In addition, I always say that triple personality is required to be a good researcher: 1. the idea-generating person, 2. the demonstrator, and 3. the critic. For those who study environmental problems, I would like to suggest that they collect social information by reading newspapers and watching the TV in addition to reading books on science and technology.
There are several hundred million bacteria, over ten million yeast cells, and over ten thousand fungal cells in 1 g of soil.
Sediments, such as clay, silt, sand, and gravel, and rocks that constitute the bottom of rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and the sea.
Solid humus (humin)
Complex of inorganic minerals and organic substances with amorphous polymer structure (insoluble in water at any pH).
Reactions of microorganisms with other harmful substances
Such bio-electrochemical reactions are observed in various microorganisms involved in the debromination of the flame retardant, tetrabromobisphenol A, the reduction of colloidal iron oxide, and the reduction of nitrate ions.