Bioresource Collection and Research Centre (BCRC) is the most important research facility in Food Industry Research and Development Institute (FIRDI). Although the establishment of BCRC was relatively late compare to other similar organizations in the world, it has already built up its solid reputation and grown into a sizeable bioresource collection centre internationally. Bioresource is a genetic/heredity resource, organism, biological species, or any other species in the ecosystem that has practical or potential applications/values to human beings. Bioresource includes any prokaryotes or eukaryotes that encode genetic information that have the ability to replicate in biological systems or self-replicate.
The Convention on Biological Diversity signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. The Convention not only raised the issue of the protection of bioresources and the allocation of the benefits derived from it to an international level, but also underlined and regulated the transfers of bioresources between countries. The Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) suggests that the bioresource centre is the mainstay in the development of biotechnology and life science industries. The Directorate suggests by launching Biological Resource Center in every country, the challenges brought by the development of biodiversity and genomics shall be conquered. The anxiety caused by the Anthrax attack after 9/11 in the US in 2001 has made the safety issues related to bioresource an even more crucial topic to be discussed at an international level. Consequently, these have all indicated that the importance of the bioresource collection center in the systematic management, international communication, and application and development of bioresource
The Bioresource Collection and Research Centre, originally named the Culture Collection and Research Centre (CCRC) at FIRDI, was launched in 1982. The centre was renamed as the Bioresource Collection and Research Centre, abbreviated as BCRC after the 5th of the 13th board of directors’ meeting in 2001, following the appeal from OECD and the matter of fact that CCRC had already expended from its original field of research on microbiological resource to cell and gene resource.
The function and research aims of the BCRC are to:
1. Collect, preserve, and provide the genetic biodiversity resources and information;
2. store and supply of patent related biological organisms and genetic resources;
3. authenticate and identify the biological and genetic resources;
4. research, develop and apply the biological and genetic resources; and
5. provide industrial related technical or information service.
The BCRC is mainly funded by the Technology Development Program (TDP) of the Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT), the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), and have been awarded the premium project awards continuously over the past three periods for the excellent performances. Currently, the BCRC is the bioresource collection centre appointed by MOEA for industrial purposes, and at the same time, is the only institute appointed by the government for the patented microbial materials deposit. The BCRC not only becomes genetic resource bank of the Council of Agriculture for the microbial cultures with agricultural importance, but also being the core member of the cell bank of the National Health Research Institutes.
Human genome project published a near complete set of human genes in 2001, and the finished human genome in 2004. Genomics becomes the main stream of biotechnology in the 21st century, leading us to the post genomic era. The BCRC started the research of genomics in 2001, and completed the whole genome of Monascus in 2004. We not only accumulate research potential of the gene bank construction, functional genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics, but also set up a systematic management on the gene bank as well as the preservation of genetic/heredity resource. The BCRC is aiming to become the bioresource collection centre of all aspects, including the preservation, development, and application of microbiological resource, cell resource, and genetic resource.
The future prospect of the BCRC is having “Exploring the bioresources, creating the industrial values” as the long term vision, looking forward to establish a bioresource center at international level aiming to set up service oriented windows for the industries as well as creating industrial values. The centre will be focusing on the mid- and long-term needs of the industries in Taiwan, collecting novel bioresources that have application potentials, simultaneously, research and develop these bioresources so that these become the true applicable resources, subsequently provide diverse bioresources and biomaterials and related techniques that derived from the bioresources. Concurrently, the centre is to assist the industry in Taiwan to be advantageous and compatible with the rest of the world in this fast growing biotechnology era. A more surfaced aim of the centre is to build up techniques, service platform, and other related resources, of which the bioresource related industries needed, as a consequence, with the completion of the above aims, the BCRC will promote the expansion, upgrading, and transformation of national bio-industries as well as creating industrial values and boosting economy in Taiwan.