Mutation-breeding technologies are useful tools for the development of new biological resources in plants and microorganisms. In Takasaki Ion Accelerators for Advanced Radiation Application (TIARA) at the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology, Japan, ion beams were explored as novel mutagens. The mutagenic effects of various ion beams on eukaryotic and prokaryotic microorganisms were described and their application in breeding technology for industrial microorganisms were discussed. Generally, the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) depended on the liner energy transfer (LET) and the highest RBE values were obtained with 12
ion beams. The highest mutation frequencies were obtained at radiation doses that gave 1%–10% of surviving fraction. By using 12
ion beams in this dose range, many microorganisms have been improved successfully at TIARA. Therefore, ion-beam breeding technology for microorganisms will have applications in many industries, including stable food production, sustainable agriculture, environmental conservation, and development of energy resources in the near future. Moreover, genome analyses of the ion-beam-induced mutants are in progress to clear the differences of mutational functions induced by different LET radiations in microorganisms. Further characterizations of mutations induced by different LET radiations will facilitate more effective use of ion beams in microorganisms breeding.
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