Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, NARO

Crop Safety Unit

Contamination of heavy metals is widespread in natural and agricultural environments through anthropogenic activities or from geological sources. In addition, radiocesium contamination in foods has become of great concern in Japan due to the incident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants. The Crop Safety Unit aims to develop innovative technologies for reducing cadmium, arsenic, and radiocesium contamination in crops by means of chemical analysis, genetic analysis, and plant breeding, thereby we will contribute to food safety.


Unit Leader

Research Topics: Physiological and genetic mechanisms on cadmium, arsenic, and radiocesium accumulation in plants; Mutant breeding of rice that accumulates less hazardous metals


Unit Members

Research Topics
Masaharu MURAKAMI Principal Researcher Reducing Cd in crops by phytoextraction; Prediction of As in rice from several soil factors
Masato IGURA Researcher Identification of radioactive cesium uptake mechanisms by crops; Study on dynamics of radioactive nuclides in agricultural field and the surround area
Tadashi ABE Researcher Breeding of high-cadmium rice for phytoremediation use; Breeding of low-cadmium, low-arsenic and low-cesium edible rice


Research Publications

Scientific Papers

  • Ishikawa S, Ishimaru Y, Igura M, Kuramata M, Abe T, Senoura T, Hase Y, Arao T, Nishizawa NK, Nakanishi H (2012) Ion-beam irradiation, gene identification, and marker-assisted breeding in the development of low-cadmium rice. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109: 19166-19171
  • Abe T, Taguchi-Shiobara F, Kojima Y, Ebitani T, Kuramata M, Yamamoto T, Yano M, Ishikawa S (2011) Detection of a QTL for accumulating Cd in rice that enables efficient Cd phytoextraction from soil. Breeding Sci 61: 43-51
  • Murakami M, Nakagawa F, Ae N, Ito M, Arao T (2009) Phytoextraction by rice capable of accumulating Cd at high levels: Reduction of Cd content of rice grain. Environ Sci Technol 43: 5878-5883


  • Ishikawa S, Kuramata M, Abe T, Igura M, Nakanishi H, Nishizawa N. Cadmium absorption regulation gene, protein, and rice plant having reduced cadmium absorption. Pub. No: WO/2013/065517, International application No.: PCT/JP2012/077300
  • Ishikawa S, Abe T, Kuramata M, Igura M, Arao T, Makino T, Sunohara Y, Kuroki M (2015) Plant variety Registration, "Koshihikari Kan No.1", a rice variety, Registration No. 24338