Researchers >> Sustainability >> Kazufumi Yazaki
Kazufumi Yazaki
+81 - 774 - 38 - 3617 /
The information given is as of 31 March 2008
- Research Fellow, Institute of Sustainability Science
- Professor, Laboratory of Plant Gene Expression,
  Division of Diagnostics and Control of the Humanosphere,
  Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere
Main Building HM - 204, Uji Campus
Specialization: Pharmaceutical science
Molecular mechanism of plant - insect interaction via plant volatile compounds
and its application [ Exploratory Research: Principle Researcher ] (FY2006 - FY2007)

Tea is one of most popular drinks in the world, where many diverse preparation techniques are used according to cultures and favor. "Oriental beauty", which has flavor like ripen fruit and honey, is a characteristic semi - fermented tea prepared from tea leaves that were damaged by small insects Jacobiasca formosana in Taiwan. We found that the flavor is attributable to monoterpene diol and hotrienol, whose production is specifically induced after the suction of phloem juice by insects. In addition, each preparation step of "Oriental beauty" is regarded as mechanical stresses for plant, such as UV - light, draught, and wounding, by which many complex secondary metabolites are also produced in leaves.

Plants have highly flexible and sophisticated tolerance mechanisms for various environmental stresses, e.g. wounds, pathogens, and draught, since they have sessile life where they were germinated. Terpenoids of low molecular weight are plant - derived volatiles and play important and specific roles in attracting pollinators, protecting plant bodies from pathogens, and also drawing attention of natural enemies of herbivores by their attack.
In this study, we characterize the biosynthetic regulation and accumulation of terpenoid metabolites by use of tea plant (Camellia sinensis) as a model, which produces various aroma compounds during the process of tea production. Those compounds are, from the viewpoint of plant physiology, known as being secondary metabolites specifically produced by wound, UV, and draught stresses. We are also aiming to provide the knowledge of this study for the application studies on molecular breeding of tea tree or food technology of tea products.

Research Affilimates:
Masaharu Mizutani
Institute for Chemical Research
Junji Takabayashi
Center for Ecological Research