Department of Environmental Life Sciences
Division of Genetic Ecology

Environmental Microbiology 分野

Kiwamu Minamisawa
キャンパス Katahira キャンパス
専攻分野 Microbial ecology, plant microbiology, soil microbiology
連絡先 022-217-5684

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From recent research, we know that plants respond to environmental changes such as low nitrogen, and select symbiotic microorganisms. When microorganisms acquire symbiotic associations with plants, they acquire an enhanced risk of genome instability. Even more interestingly, plant root-associated microbes are deeply connected to N and C transformation in the rhizosphere, wherein greenhouse gases (N2O and CH4) are produced and extinguished. My aim is to discover diversity and functions of dynamic plant-associated microorganisms, and to develop multidisciplinary sciences for application to environmental microbiology for the purposes of sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation.


1983 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Agriculture, Ibaraki University
1990 Associate Professor, Faculty of Agriculture, Ibaraki University
1996 Professor, Institute of Genetic Ecology, Tohoku University
2001 Professor, Graduate School of Life Science, Tohoku University


Sanchez, C., M. Itakura, T. Okubo, T. Matsumoto, H. Yoshikawa, A. Gotoh, M. Hidaka, T. Uchida, and K. Minamisawa. 2014. The nitrate-sensing NasST system regulates nitrous oxide reductase and periplasmic nitrate reductase in Bradyrhizobium japonicum. Environ. Microbiol. 16: 3263-3274.

Bao, Z., A. Watanabe, K. Sasaki, T. Okubo, T. Tokida, D. Liu, S. Ikeda, H. Imaizumi-Anraku, S. Asakawa, T. Sato, H. Mitsui, and K. Minamisawa. 2014. A rice gene for microbial symbiosis, Oryza sativa CCaMK, reduces CH4 flux in a paddy field with low nitrogen input. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 80: 1995-2003.

Itakura, M., Y. Uchida, H. Akiyama, Y. Takada-Hoshino, Y. Shimomura, S. Morimoto, K. Tago, Y. Wang, C. Hayakawa, Y. Uetake, C. Sanchez, S. Eda, M. Hayatsu, and K. Minamisawa. 2013. Mitigation of nitrous oxide emissions from soils by Bradyrhizobium japonicum inoculation. Nature Climate Change 3: 208-212.

Okubo, T., S. Fukushima, M. Itakura, K. Oshima, A. Longtonglang, N. Teaumroong, H. Mitsui, M. Hattori, R. Hattori, T. Hattori, and K. Minamisawa. 2013. Genome analysis suggests that the soil oligotrophic bacterium Agromonas oligotrophica (Bradyrhizobium oligotrophicum) is a nitrogen-fixing symbiont of Aeschynomene indica. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 79: 2542-2551.

Ikeda, S., T. Ohkubo, T. Kaneko, S. Inaba, T. Maekawa, S. Eda, S. Sato, S. Tabata, H. Mitsui, and K. Minamisawa. 2010. Community shifts of soybean stem-associated bacteria responding to different nodulation phenotypes and N levels. ISME Journal 4: 315-26.

Minamisawa, K. 2006. A milestone for endophyte biotechnology. Nature Biotechnology 24; 1357-1358.

所属学会 Japanese Society of Microbial Ecology, Japan Society of Plant Microbe Interactions, Japan Society of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Japanese Society of Soil Microbiology, Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology and Agrochemistry, International Society of Microbial Ecology (ISME)

Coexisting Gene Ecology (graduate students)
Life Science B (all students)
Structure of the Natural World (all students)


Focusing on bacterial genomics, I am studying 1) symbiotic mechanisms between legume plants and their microsymbionts, rhizobial (root nodule) bacteria; 2) soil microbe-mediated biogeochemical functions relevant to N and C transformation in plant rhizospheres; and 3) co-evolution of rhizobia and leguminous plants. Recently, I have enthusiastically been conducting research to find out why soybean disease resistant genes are involved in the incompatibility between soybean plants and specific strains of the endosymbiont, Bradyrhizobium japonicum. I am also conducting global environmental research on the close relationship between rhizobial denitrification potential and the generation of the global warming gas N2O emitted from legume roots. In addition, our group found a new regulatory system for the nosZ gene encoding N2O reductase, and proposed a strategy to reduce soil N2O emission by enhancing nosZ expression. In the natural world, many microorganisms function through their interactions as communities, and I have discovered the general rules thereof using root nodule bacteria and endophytes.


Academia in the future will not just be meticulous analysis and investigation of a single phenomenon. It will become more and more important to integrate and open new multidisciplinary fields. For this reason, it is essential to ambitiously learn not only the basics but related fields as well. If you’re interested in symbiosis and soil microorganisms, I implore you to come visit our laboratory.