Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization

Tsukuba, Japan

Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization

Tsukuba, Japan
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Yamane T.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2013

Male seminal substances have been shown to induce oviposition and reduce female longevity in a number of species including the adzuki bean beetle Callosobruchus chinensis. Here the micro-injection of extracts of male reproductive tissues is used to determine the effect of male and female strain on female fecundity and longevity. Four strains of C. chinensis, known to differ in their propensity to remate were assayed. The results indicate that male and female strain both influence female fecundity and longevity. However, consistent patterns of response were not observed as revealed by a significant interaction between male and female strains. The evolutionary implications of these results are discussed. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Hayashi K.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2013

Purpose: Earlier studies on agricultural life cycle assessment recommend that practitioners use two functional units - product weight and land area - because agriculture entails commodity production and land use. However, there are still ambiguities in this approach from the perspective of decision support. The purpose of this paper is to provide recommendations to support farming conversion decisions on the basis of a framework constructed on two alternative views of agricultural production. Organic conversion of arable farming is selected as a case study. Methods: Four types of conversion were constructed on the basis of land-oriented expression, in which inputs into and outputs from land were depicted, and product-oriented expression, in which inputs into and outputs from products were depicted. Then, the frequencies for each type were counted using LCI databases and data from journal papers. Results: The results can be summarized as follows: (1) trade-off conversion, in which improvements in environmental impacts per area unit are involved in decrease of yield per area unit, is common. (2) Conversion tended to be efficient; that is, environmental impacts per product unit tended to improve. (3) Within trade-off conversion, the conversion tended to be efficient. (4) When conversion was efficient, there were trade-offs. Conclusions: Since the results for one expression were not always derivable from the results for another expression, the recommendation of this study is to use the two expressions complementarily, knowing that win-win conversion is rare. In addition, there is a general recommendation to use decision criteria rather than trying to make decisions on the basis of multiple functional units because comparisons based on the two functional units are not on the same level. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Yano H.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
Molecular Plant | Year: 2014

Studies triggered by the discovery of the function of thioredoxin (Trx) in photosynthesis have revealed its role throughout biology. Parallel biochemical and proteomic analyses have led to the identification of its numerous putative targets. Recently, to verify the biological significance of these targets, in vivo studies using transformants in which Trx is overexpressed or suppressed are in progress, and the transformants themselves that are being used in such studies show their potential applicative values. Moreover, Trx's mitigation of allergenicity for some proteins offers promising prospects in the food industry. Practical studies based on redox regulation, once only on the horizon, are now achieving new dimensions. This short review focuses on the industrial applications of Trx studies, the current situation, and future perspectives. The putative targets obtained by the proteomics approach in comparison with in vivo observations of the transformants are also examined. Applicative studies of glutathione, a counterpart of Trx, are also discussed briefly. © 2013 The Author.

Kitta K.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2013

The safety assessment of genetically modified (GM) crops is mandatory in many countries. Although the most important factor to take into account in these safety assessments is the primary effects of artificially introduced transgene-derived traits, possible unintended effects attributed to the insertion of transgenes must be carefully examined in parallel. However, foods are complex mixtures of compounds characterized by wide variations in composition and nutritional values. Food components are significantly affected by various factors such as cultivars and the cultivation environment including storage conditions after harvest, and it can thus be very difficult to detect potential adverse effects caused by the introduction of a transgene. A comparative approach focusing on the identification of differences between GM foods and their conventional counterparts has been performed to reveal potential safety issues and is considered the most appropriate strategy for the safety assessment of GM foods. This concept is widely shared by authorities in many countries. For the efficient safety assessment of GM crops, an easily accessible and wide-ranging compilation of crop composition data is required for use by researchers and regulatory agencies. Thus, we developed an Internet-accessible food composition database comprising key nutrients, antinutrients, endogenous toxicants, and physiologically active substances of staple crops such as rice and soybeans. The International Life Sciences Institute has also been addressing the same matter and has provided the public a crop composition database of soybeans, maize, and cotton. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

Sakaguchi M.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
Journal of Reproduction and Development | Year: 2011

To establish sustainability in the dairy industry, it is important that cows become pregnant at a biologically optimal time and at an economically profitable interval after calving. In this review, the results obtained from Holstein cattle in an experimental herd for dairy research are summarized. First, the effect of age at first calving of heifers on productive and reproductive performance was examined. A reduction in calving age from 25.1 to 21.5 months with the same growth rate during the first 12 months after birth had no negative effects on the heifers' performance. Second, the postpartum follicular dynamics of lactating cows were traced in relation to their fertility, and the emergence and fate of cystic ovarian follicles were examined. The premature initiation of ovarian activity does not always improve the fertility of cows as indicated by the number of days open. Third, the occurrences of anestrous ovulation during the early postpartum period were analyzed with reference to the frequency of reversion to anestrus. The premature onset of estrous activity also did not improve fertility, and relapse back into anestrus after the onset of the estrous cycle often occurred during the breeding period. Fourth, some indices for the occurrence of postpartum reproductive events were evaluated as an indicator of the reproductive performance of lactating cows. The milk yield and percentage of body weight loss could be indicators for reproductive events. Finally, the potency of a pedometry system for the detection of typical and atypical estrous behaviors of heifers and lactating cows was evaluated in terms of efficiency and accuracy. The location of the pedometers and housing conditions for the animals affected the estrus detection of the system. These results represent the reproductive potential of modern high-yielding dairy cattle and provide a baseline to evaluate their reproduction. © 2011 by the Society for Reproduction and Development.

Yano H.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2010

The wide prevalence of celiac disease and wheat allergy has led to a growing demand for glutenfree foods. Rice proteins do not possess the viscoelastic properties typically found in gluten, thus making rice flour unsuitable for the production of yeast-leavened products. In the present study, we found that the addition of glutathione to rice batter improves its gas-retaining properties. Glutathione was found to prevent the formation of the disulfide-linked macromolecular protein barrier, which is reported to confer resistance to the deformation of rice batter in the baking process. Also, glutathione appeared to gelatinize rice starch at lower temperatures. Microstructure analyses of glutathione-added rice bread revealed it to have a perforated structure like wheat bread but with a smoother-looking surface. These data collectively suggest that glutathione facilitates the deformation of rice batter, thus increasing its elasticity in the early stages of bread baking and the volume of the resulting bread. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

Yoshida H.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization | Nagato Y.,University of Tokyo
Journal of Experimental Botany | Year: 2011

The flower of rice diverged from those of model eudicot species such as Arabidopsis, Antirrhinum, or Petunia, and is thus of great interest in developmental and evolutionary biology. Specific to grass species, including rice, are the structural units of the inflorescence called the spikelet and floret, which comprise grass-specific peripheral organs and conserved sexual organs. Recent advances in molecular genetic studies have provided an understanding of the functions of rapidly increasing numbers of genes involved in rice flower development. The genetic framework of rice flower development is in part similar to that of model eudicots. However, rice also probably recruits specific genetic mechanisms, which probably contribute to the establishment of the specific floral architecture of rice. In this review, the molecular genetic mechanisms of rice flowering are outlined, focusing on recent information and in comparison with those of model eudicots. © 2011 The Author.

Kaneda M.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
Differentiation | Year: 2011

Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic phenomenon that brings the difference of expression between paternally or maternally derived alleles and is specific for mammals in vertebrates. This imprint is established in the parental germlines and then inherited to the next generation to regulate expression of imprinted genes that are essential to support proper embryonic development. More than one hundred imprinted genes have been identified in mice and humans. Some are essential for embryonic development, especially placental formation, and others regulate metabolism, behavior and physiological functions. In humans, disruption of genomic imprinting causes several diseases, including cancer. Recently, the molecular mechanisms of genomic imprinting are getting clarified. How do parents regulate gene expression of their children? Why and how is genomic imprinting evolved in mammals? The review offers a handful of recent progress in this area. © 2011 International Society of Differentiation.

Takahashi M.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
Journal of Reproduction and Development | Year: 2012

Many factors affect development of mammalian preimplantation embryos in vitro. It is well known that in vitro development of bovine embryos is highly affected by culture condition including energy source, growth factors, pH or gas environment. Many efforts have been made towards the suitable environments which can successfully support embryo development in vitro. For a rapid growth and differentiation, embryo requires energy by utilizing ATP, NADPH with oxygen molecules. These energy substrates are produced from the electron transport chain in the mitochondria. In addition to energy production, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are also generated as by-product of such energy production system. ROS production is sensitively controlled by the balance of oxidizing and reducing status and affected by several antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), Catalase, glutathione peroxidase (GPx) or low molecular weight thiols such as glutathione (GSH). Imbalance of oxidation and reduction causes production of excess ROS, which causes the developmental arrest, physical DNA damage, apoptosis induction or lipid peroxidation. Environmental oxygen condition during embryo culture also highly affects embryo development as well as intracellular redox balance. Several studies have revealed that regulation of intra- and extra- cellular reducing environment by reducing excess ROS by using antioxidants, reducing oxygen concentration are effective for improving embryo development. Also, recent studies have demonstrated the difference in gene expression affected by oxidative stress. This review briefly summarizes the effects of ROS and the role of redox balance on preimplantation embryos for improving the efficiency of in vitro production of mammalian embryos. © 2012 by the Society for Reproduction and Development.

Nagao A.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
BioFactors | Year: 2011

A number of carotenoids with diverse structures are present in foods and have beneficial effects on human health due to their common antioxidant activity and their respective biological activities. The major carotenoids found in human tissues, however, are limited to several including such as β-carotene, lycopene, and lutein. We have little knowledge of whether carotenoids are selectively absorbed in intestine and metabolized discriminately in the body. Moreover, the metabolic transformation of carotenoids in mammals other than vitamin A formation has not been fully elucidated. Here, the intestinal absorption and oxidative metabolism of dietary carotenoids are reviewed with a focus on dietary xanthophylls. © 2011 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

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