Institute of Vegetable and Floriculture Science, NARO

Quality and Function Research Unit

We are conducting research on quality evaluation of vegetables, functional analysis, and multifunctional material development as follows:
Quality evaluation: We are studying about the objective evaluation of taste. We found that guanylic acid, the umami component of tomato increased when it is cooked by heating and we clarified differences among varieties. In addition, we are investigating the influence of tomato varieties and cultivation conditions on the quality of tomato.
Functional analysis: We clarify the physiological activities and mechanisms action of vegetables in cell and animal experiments and also conduct human feeding tests. We are also examining variations among functional ingredients of vegetables, and the variability due to cultivation conditions. We have found an immune activating effect in the green leaf mucus of Japanese bunching onion and identified mannose-binding lectin and thaumatin-like protein as agents of immunity. In addition, we are also working on the development of stabilization technology and quantification of functional ingredients of spinach and tomato
Development of multifunctional materials: Recently, we have developed two divalent iron materials using spent tea leaves and coffee grounds as raw material, which can be used as a plant iron supply agent. The same materials can be used to produce large amounts of hydroxyl radical (・OH) by reacting with hydrogen peroxide water. We are testing this technology on disinfection of fresh vegetables and water. And, we are developing environment-friendly applications of photocatalytic technology using those materials.


Unit Leader

Hiroshi UEDA

Unit Members


Sei OU

Akira ANDO

Claudio Kenji MORIKAWA

Yasumasa ANDO