My DreamExtension of healthy life expectancy by functional foods
ThemeSearch of functional lipid source and solution of the mechanism
I am from Shikoku-island in West Japan. My hobbies are loving Japanese dogs "Shiba-inu, Akita-inu, Hokkaido-inu et al." and making a pilgrimage to holy places (Osore-zan, Haguro-san, Hiko-san, Ohmine-san et al.).
|General Research Building 3
BelongsResearch Department/Department of Life and Food Sciences/Division of Food Science/Section of Food Technology and Biotechnology
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
- Food function of glycerolipids
- Food function of sphingolipids