Saneyuki KAWABATA, Professor

・Cross-Appointed Faculty, International Program in Agricultural Development Studies (IPADS)

Institute for Sustainable Agro-eco System Services (ISAS)
Laboratory of Agricultural Biology and Biogeochemistry,
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Biology, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the University of Tokyo



Contact information

Phone +81 70 6442 9499

>>EMAIL  skawabata[at]


Plant Science
Agricultural Biology and Biogeochemistry

Research interests

  • Anthocyanin accumulation in crops grown under LED in plant factory

Crops grown under LED light in plant factories often have poor anthocyanin accumulation. Unlike sunlight, LED light used in plant factories does not contain a range of UV light and does not fluctuate. Anthocyanins are thought to act as UV screens and antioxidants that protect plants from environmental stresses, such as exposure to sunlight. Our interest is why crops fail to produce anthocyanins under LED light. We are currently investigating the response of plants to various light spectra and fluctuations in vegetables such as lettuce, Brassica vegetables, turnips and tomatoes.

  • Sustainable crop production in plant factories

The use of plant factories makes it possible to produce crops efficiently throughout the year without being affected by adverse environments, but the environmental load of the current system is not small. Not only the energy consumption is large, but also many substances released to the environment such as hydroponic medium, plant residues, and fertilizer that the crops could not absorb in hydroponics. We are conducting research on the construction of cultivation methods and cultivation systems using plant factories to minimize the environmental load.

  • Application of nanobubble water in hydroponics

Nanobubbles are very small gas bubbles, about 100 nm in diameter, and have several distinctive physical properties that make them very different from ordinary bubbles. Nanobubbles are thought to produce reactive oxygen species when they burst in water. When nanobubbles were mixed with the nutrient solution in hydroponics, they inhibited main root elongation and enhanced lateral root development, resulting in significant changes in root morphology. These changes were similar to those observed when hydrogen peroxide was added to the nutrient solution. So, it was speculated that these changes were due to the effects of ROS. Plants grown in nanobubbles during the seedling growth period showed better growth when subsequently planted in normal hydroponics. We aim to elucidate the mechanism of these effects and also study the application of nanobubbles to hydroponics.

  • Dominant and fertile double-flower trait in ornamentals

Double-flower varieties are more popular than single-flower varieties because of their gorgeous appearance and high value as an ornamental plant. Studies of Arabidopsis have shown that a mutation in the C-class gene in the ABC model results in double flowers, but the double-flower trait is recessive and sterile in this case. In many ornamental plants, including roses, carnations, Eustoma and petunias, the double-flower trait is dominant and the flowers are fertile. We have shown that the double-flowers of Eustoma are caused by a mutation in the one of the AP2 genes. The AP2 gene mutations were also found in roses and carnations, but no AP2 gene mutations were found in petunias. We are currently studying the molecular mechanisms of double-flower formation in Eustoma and petunia.

Study example

  • Regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis under LED plant factory
  • Optimizing plant growth under LED plant factory by modifying LED light quality
  • Development of biodegradable growing media for hydroponic seedling production in a plant factory.
  • Quantitative nutrient management to reduce nutrient waste in hydroponics.
  • Analysis of root architecture modification in hydroponically grown lettuce with nanobubble water
  • Genetic analysis of dominant double-flower trait
  • Image analysis of fringe petal shape of ornamental plants and its genetic analysis


■Recent publications

  1. Kim MJ, Kim P, Chen Y, Chen B, Yang J, Liu X, Kawabata S, Wang Y, Li Y. 2020. Blue and UV‐B light synergistically induce anthocyanin accumulation by co‐activating nitrate reductase gene expression in Anthocyanin fruit (Aft) tomato. Plant Biology.
  2. Zheng H, Kawabata S. 2017. Identification and validation of new alleles of FALSIFLORA and COMPOUND INFLORESCENCE genes controlling the number of branches in tomato inflorescence. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 18: 1572.
  3. Liu S, Oshita S, Kawabata S, Thuyet DQ. 2017. Nanobubble Water’s Promotion Effect of Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Sprouts Supported by RNA-Seq Analysis. Langmuir 33: 12478-12486.
  4. Yang JF, Chen YZ, Kawabata S, Li YH, Wang Y. 2017. Identification of light-independent anthocyanin biosynthesis mutants induced by ethyl methane sulfonate in Turnip “Tsuda” (Brassica rapa). International Journal of Molecular Sciences 18: 1288.
  5. Wang X, Wang Y, Chen B, Kawabata S, F ang Z, Li Y. 2017. Construction and genetic analysis of anthocyanin-deficient mutants induced by T-DNA insertion in ‘Tsuda’turnip (Brassica rapa). Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC) 131: 431-443.
  6. Wang J, Wang Y, Chen B, Kawabata S, Li Y. 2016. Comparative transcriptome analysis revealed distinct gene set expression associated with anthocyanin biosynthesis in response to short-wavelength light in turnip. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 38: 134.
  7. Liu S, Oshita S, Kawabata S, Makino Y, Yoshimoto T. 2016. Identification of ROS produced by nanobubbles and their positive and negative effects on vegetable seed germination. Langmuir 32: 11295-11302.
  8. Ledesma NA, Kawabata S. 2016. Responses of two strawberry cultivars to severe high temperature stress at different flower development stages. Scientia Horticulturae 211: 319-327.
  9. Zhang, Y, Hayashi T, Kawabata S, Li Y. 2015. Relationship the between velvet-like texture of flower petals and light reflection from epidermal cell surfaces. Journal of Plant Research 128: 623-632.
  10. Lan X,Yang  J, Cao M, Wang Y, Kawabata S,  Li Y. 2015. Isolation and characterization of a J domain protein that interacts with ARC1 from ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala). Plant Cell Reports 34:817–829.
  11. Bai J, Kawabata S. 2015. Regulation of diurnal rhythms of flower opening and closure by light cycles,wavelength, and intensity in Eustoma grandiflorum. The Horticulture Journal 84: 148-155.
  12. Zhang L, Wang Y, Sun M, Wang J, Kawabata S, Li Y. 2014. BrMYB4, a suppressor of genes for phenylpropanoid and anthocyanin biosynthesis, is downregulated by UV-B but not by pigment-inducing sunlight in turnip cv. Tsuda. Plant Cell Physiology 55: 2092-2101.
  13. Ishimori, M. Kawabata S (2014) Conservation and diversification of floral homeotic MADS-box genes in Eustoma grandiflorum. J. Japan. Soc. Hort. Sci. 83: 172-180.
  14. Wu W, Zhou B, Luo D, Yan H, Li Y, Kawabata S. 2014. Development of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers that are polymorphic between cultivars in Brassica rapa subsp. rapa. African Journal of Biotechnology,11: 2654-2660.
  15. Noor Elahi Jan, Jalal-ud-Din, and Saneyuki Kawabata. 2014. Impact of saline-alkali stress on the accumulation of solids in tomato fruits. Pakistan Journal of Botany 46: 161-166.
  16. Zhou B, Wang Y, Zhan Y, Li Y, Kawabata S. 2013. Chalcone synthase family genes have redundant roles in anthocyanin biosynthesis and in response to blue/UV-A light in turnip (Brassica rapa; Brassicaceae). American Journal of Botany 100: 2458-2467.
  17. Santosa E, Sugiyama N, Kawabata S, Hikosaka S. 2012. Genetic variations of Amorphophallus variabilis Blume (Araceae) in Java using AFLP. Indonesian Journal of Agronomy 40,62-68.
  18. Wang Y, Zhou B, Sun M, Li Y, Kawabata S. 2012. UV-A light induces anthocyanin biosynthesis in a manner distinct from synergistic blue + UV-B light and UV-A/blue light responses at different parts of the hypocotyls in turnip seedlings. Plant and Cell Physiology53: 1470-1480.
  19. Kawabata S, Li Y., Miyamoto K. 2012. EST sequencing and microarray analysis of the floral transcriptome of Eustoma grandiflorum. Scientia Horticulturae 144:230-235.
  20. Kawabata S, Yokoo M., Nii K. 2011. Three-dimensional formation of corolla shapes in relation to the developmental distortion of petals in Eustoma grandiflorum. Scientia Horticulturae 132: 66-70.
  21. Kawabata S, Miyamoto K, Li Y. 2011. cDNA microarray analysis of differential gene expression in tomato fruits exposed to blue, UV-A, and UV-A+UV-B. Acta Horticulturae 907: 371-374.
  22. Wang Q, Zhang Y, Kawabata S, and Li Y. 2011. Double fertilization and embryogenesis of Eustoma grandiflorum. J.Japan.Soc.Hort.Sci. 80: 351-357.
  23. Jan NE, Kawabata S. 2011. Relationship between fruit soluble solid content and the sucrose concentration of the phloem sap at different leaf to fruit ratios in tomato. Journal of the Japanese Society for Horticultural Science 80: 314-321.
  24. Nii K, Kawabata S. 2011. The assessment of the association between the three-dimensional shape of the corolla and two-dimensional shapes of the petals by using Fourier descriptors and principal component analysis in lisianthus. Journal of the Japanese Society for Horticultural Science 80: 200-205.
  25. Zhou B, Zhao X, Kawabata S, Li Y. 2009. Transient expression of a foreign gene by direct incorporation of DNA into intact plant tissue through vacuum infiltration. Biotechnology Letters 31: 1811–1815.
  26. Kawabata S, Li Y, Saito T, Zhou B. 2009. Identification of differentially expressed genes during flower opening by suppression subtractive hybridization and cDNA microarray analysis in Eustoma grandiflorum. Scientia Horticulturae 122: 129-133.
  27. Saneyuki Kawabata, Mihoshi Yokoo, Kaeko Nii. 2009. Quantitative analysis of corolla shapes and petal contours in single-flower cultivars of lisianthus. Scientia Horticulturae 121: 206–212.
  28. Yan, HF, An CP, Kawabata S, Li Y. 2009. Analysis technique and mass spectrometry method of phosphoproteome in swollen hypocotyls of turnip (Brassica rapa L. sbusp. rapa ‘Tsuda’) rich in polysaccharides by Pro-Q Diamond/SYPRO fluorescence stain. Plant Physiology Journal 45: 598-602.
  29. Ijiri T, Yokoo M, Kawabata S, and Igarashi T. 2008. Surface-based growth simulation for opening flowers. Proceedings Graphic Interface 2008. pp. 227-233.
  30. Kawabata S, W Chujo. 2008. Analysis of nitrogen and amino acid contents in cut and potted flowers of Eustoma grandiflorum. Journal of the Japanese Society for Horticultural Science 77:192-198.
  31. Zhou B, Li Y, Zhao F, Kawabata S. 2008. Recent Progress in Cellular, Biochemical and Genetic Events of Brassica Species. International Journal of Plant Breeding 1:112-118.
  32. Zhou B, Lan XG, Xu Z, Li Y, Kawabata S. 2008. UV-A specific regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis in red turnip, brassica rapa l. subsp. rapa: UV-A mediated protein phosphorylation. Acta Horticulturae 774:229-236.
  33. Zhou B, Li Y, Xu Z, Yan H, Homma S, Kawabata S. 2007. Ultraviolet-A specific induction of anthocyanin biosynthesis in the swollen hypocotyls of turnip (Brassica rapa). Journal of Experimental Botany 58: 1771-1781.
  34. Kawabata, S., Sasaki, H. and Sakiyama, R. 2005. Role of transpiration from fruits in phloem transport and fruit growth in tomato fruits. Physiologia Plantarum 124(3):371-380.