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Fujiwara Techno-Art: At the forefront of innovation in the microorganism industry

Article - October 16, 2023

As a pioneer in solid-state fermentation technology, Fujiwara is looking forward to global partnerships to unleash the latent potential of microorganisms.

“We want to foster a circular society for a sustainable, happier future.”

Kana Fujiwara, Vice President (left), Keiko Fujiwara, President (right), Fujiwara Techno-Art Co., Ltd.

A company that this year celebrates its 90th anniversary, Fujiwara Techno-Art is a world-class manufacturer of the fermentation machinery behind fermented food products such as soy sauce, miso, sake and shochu. Now, as it looks to the future, the Japanese firm is out to take its leading-edge technology into new fields.

Fujiwara’s equipment is crafted with a degree of expertise, and a commitment to quality, that sets it apart. “Compared to our competitors in Asia, our machines are more expensive – but our customers understand our value,” says President Keiko Fujiwara. “Our machines enable high productivity of consistently top-quality products, and we also provide careful follow-up services for a better long-term use of our machines. In the long term, our customers will come to realize that our machines fulfill low-cost production.”

Key to the creation of fermented food products is the cultivation of microorganisms such as a fungus called koji mold. For this purpose, Fujiwara has developed state-of-the-art koji processing equipment that harnesses the company’s expertise in a procedure known as solid-state fermentation. In Japan, this machinery has accrued an 80% market share.

“Our solid-state fermentation technology evenly cultivates large-scale fungus around solid materials such as rice, wheat and soybean, and optimizes the function of microbes,” says Vice President Kana Fujiwara. “In mass production, highly advanced technologies are needed to control the environment to optimize microbes’ performance. It was previously thought impossible, but we have created technology that enables large-scale, automated solid-state fermentation.”

As part of the company’s ‘Vision 2050’, Fujiwara aims to significantly broaden the application of its solid-state fermentation technology. “In 2018, we set out a vision maintaining the firm’s focus on fermentation, but expanding its use to co-create a new ‘microorganism industry’ around the world,” says Keiko Fujiwara. “This is the name we have given to an industry that is widely spread across fields that maximize the potential of microbes and put it to highly valuable use.” Fujiwara not only plans to expand into further food products, but is also targeting growth into areas such as animal feed, energy and biomaterials.

The company’s vision also embraces the drive for a circular economy. “One of our main themes is to develop a sustainable food supply system,” Kana Fujiwara explains. “In the process of food production, there are tons of by-products that are wasted. But with our solid-state fermentation technology, we can transform these by-products into new materials, food, and feed ingredients that are highly functional and nutritious.”

As it looks to build a ‘microorganism industry’, Fujiwara is working to establish a domestic and international network of partnerships. “In contributing to a circular economy for a sustainable and happier future, we are also keen to collaborate with companies (around the world) that have high interest in global sustainability. To start with, we are working on raising awareness of our solid-state fermentation technology and expanding its applicable areas together with our partners.”