Our laboratory conducts research with the key words of chemistry/biochemistry and the food functionality of fats. We also evaluate the food functionality of local farm products toward contributing to the region.
The structure and food functionality of plant/fungal sphingolipids The first professor of our laboratory, Professor Fujino, was first person to determine the structure of sphingomyelin (a sphingolipid found in large amounts in animal tissues). Professor Onishi summarized the chemical properties of plant sphingolipids. So, our laboratory has been conducting research on sphingolipids on a continuous basis. In recent years, we’ve conducted research on the food functionalities of sphingolipids originating from plants and microbes, glucosylceramide in particular, and we’ve reported their effects in controlling the development of colorectal adenomas, intestinal inflammation, and other diseases. In our current efforts to find out how these mechanisms occur, we use cells and experimental animals.
The structures and food functionalities of functional phospholipids of animal origin There are many phospholipids, and their types depend on the polar group that binds to the 3 position of the glycerol backbone and on the binding mode of the 1 position. In recent years, phospholipids have been found to present different functionalities depending on their conformation. For example, plasmalogens, which are contained in large amounts in the cerebral nervous system, are phospholipids with a vinyl ether bound to the 1 position. They’ve been found to have anti-neuronal apoptosis effects, which are not found in common diacyl phospholipids. Our laboratory focuses on functional phospholipids, including plasmalogens, and is seeking to elucidate their functionality, improve their bioavailability, and explore sources for them in underused or unused resources. We’re also exploring disease markers by focusing on increase and decreases in specific phospholipids in blood through joint research with the faculty of medicine.
The food functionality of yams produced in Tokachi The Tokachi region of Hokkaido is known for producing yam, and high-quality products made from yams are even exported internationally. From olden days, yams have been used in Chinese medicine to treat gastrointestinal issues. We took an interest in the functionality of yams for digestive organs, and as a result of studying their effect of controlling the development of colon polyps in mice treated with dimethylhydrazine, yams were found to be remarkably effective for the control of colon polyps. We also analyzed the difference of the gene expression of colon using DNA microarray and found that apoptosis-related gene expression was induced by DNA microarray. As mentioned above, we do our best to address issues related to food science for farm products in Hokkaido, especially in the Tokachi region (Yamashita/Kinoshita).
List of current research topics
Chemical property of compound lipids, especially sphingolipids
Food functionality of compound lipids
Affiliated academic society
Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry, Japan Oil Chemists' Society, Japan Society of Nutrition and Food Science
I was born in Tokyo. I entered Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine after graduating from high school in 1985. Six years later, I went to Honshu and studied further for 10 years in Sendai, Osaka and Okazaki. It’s been 20 years since I returned to Obihiro. On weekends, I do 30-km bicycle rides in summer and 10-km cross-country ski excursions in winter, partly to avoid developing Type 2 diabetes.