27 November 2013 РBrunei’s microbial diversity is largely untapped, but has the potential to support the economic diversification of the country. That was the key message emanating from a high level symposium held on 27 November in Brunei Darussalam. Here, CABI scientists outlined the important role that a new Biological Resource Centre would play in managing Brunei’s genetic microbial resources.

Biological Resource Centres are key to preserving and conserving the world’s microorganisms. These reference centres collect, maintain, characterise and advise on the availability of microorganisms, preserving authentic materials for the future. Brunei, currently does not¬†have one.

According to¬†CABI’s¬†Dr Paul Bridge, ¬ďThe country has a diverse range of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Improved coordination and management of this resource has the potential to deliver commercial benefits across a range of sectors including agriculture – from the food industry to pharmaceutical.¬Ē

The CABI team, consisting of Drs David Smith, Paul Bridge and Keng-Yeang Lum, had the opportunity to interact with the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, where they were able to articulate the current status of Brunei’s microbial resource collections and how, with CABI expertise, the initiative to develop and fund a Biological Resource Centre would help to underpin the bioeconomy.

Brunei is a longstanding and important member country for CABI. In recent years, CABI has worked alongside the Government and Department of Agriculture of Brunei Darussalam to strengthened local capacity across a range of disciplines. Along with the development of a Biological Resource Centre, focus areas of collaboration have included integrated pest and disease management, both in crop and postharvest production and the introduction of phytosanitary measures to promote and protect agricultural trade.