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Atsushi Kume Last modified date:2019.05.22

Professor / Sustainable Bioresources Science
Department of Agro-environmental Sciences
Faculty of Agriculture

Graduate School
Undergraduate School

Kume Laboratory .
Academic Degree
Country of degree conferring institution (Overseas)
Field of Specialization
Plant Ecophysiology, Environmental Biophysics
ORCID(Open Researcher and Contributor ID)
Total Priod of education and research career in the foreign country
Outline Activities
My primary research is related to the study of energy and mass exchange between living organisms and their environment.
Based on the field measurement and environmental chemical analysis, we want to clarify the effect of global environmental changes on the various ecological processes, especially in the extreme environmental conditions.
I am currently devoted to promote Space Moss project, A space life science program in the space station Kibo.
Research Interests
  • Development of new photo sensors
    keyword : remote sensing, Leaf area index (LAI), Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) , Solar radiation
  • Evaluation of the effects of hypergravity on the plant growth and development
    keyword : hypergravity, cultivation techniques, International Space Station (ISS)
  • Effective use of biomass energy
    keyword : Wood pellet, Larix kaempferi, distribution system
Academic Activities
1. Atsushi Kume, Color of Photosynthetic Systems: Importance of Atmospheric Spectral Segregation Between Direct and Diffuse Radiation. In: Yamagishi A., Kakegawa T., Usui T. (eds) Astrobiology. Springer, Singapore, Springer, Singapore, 10.1007/978-981-13-3639-3_9, 2019.02, [URL], The color of photosynthetic apparatus can be used for inferring the process of evolutionary selection of photosynthetic pigments and as possible signs of life on distant habitable exoplanets. The absorption spectra of photosynthetic apparatus have close relationships with the spectra and intensity of incident radiation. Most terrestrial plants use specific light-harvesting chlorophylls and carotenoids for photosynthesis and have pale green chloroplasts. However in aquatic ecosystems, there are phototrophs with various colors having different photosynthetic pigments. Oxygenic photosynthesis uses visible light, and far-red photons are not used for this process. While some phototrophic bacteria are able to use far-red photons for their life, they do not generate O2.

Other aspect of light is the harmful effect of light. Although efficient light absorption is important for photosynthesis, UV and excess light absorption damages photosynthetic apparatus. In terrestrial environments, portion of incident solar radiation reaches to the surface, which are called direct radiation (PARdir), while the other are optically altered by the Earth’s atmosphere, scattered by the sky and clouds, which are called diffuse radiation (PARdiff). The photosynthetic systems of terrestrial plants are fine-tuned to reduce the energy absorption of PARdir. The safe use of PARdir and the efficient use of PARdiff are achieved in light-harvesting complexes of terrestrial plants. In addition to the type of central star, the optical properties of the atmosphere of the planet may have significant effects on the evolution of photosynthetic systems and photoreceptors..
2. Remote sensing of vegetation.
3. Forest Hydrology  -Exploring the Fate of Water in Forest Ecosystems-, [URL].
4. Introduction to Plant Physiological Ecology, [URL].
5. An Introduction to Environmental Biophysics, 2nd Edition, [URL].
1. Atsushi Kume, Tomoko Akitsu, Kenlo Nishida Nasahara, Why is chlorophyll b only used in light-harvesting systems?, Journal of Plant Research, 10.1007/s10265-018-1052-7, 1-12, 2018.07, Chlorophylls (Chl) are important pigments in plants that are used to absorb photons and release electrons. There are several types of Chls but terrestrial plants only possess two of these: Chls a and b. The two pigments form light-harvesting Chl a/b-binding protein complexes (LHC), which absorb most of the light. The peak wavelengths of the absorption spectra of Chls a and b differ by c. 20 nm, and the ratio between them (the a/b ratio) is an important determinant of the light absorption efficiency of photosynthesis (i.e., the antenna size). Here, we investigated why Chl b is used in LHCs rather than other light-absorbing pigments that can be used for photosynthesis by considering the solar radiation spectrum under field conditions. We found that direct and diffuse solar radiation (PARdir and PARdiff, respectively) have different spectral distributions, showing maximum spectral photon flux densities (SPFD) at c. 680 and 460 nm, respectively, during the daytime. The spectral absorbance spectra of Chls a and b functioned complementary to each other, and the absorbance peaks of Chl b were nested within those of Chl a. The absorption peak in the short wavelength region of Chl b in the proteinaceous environment occurred at c. 460 nm, making it suitable for absorbing the PARdiff, but not suitable for avoiding the high spectral irradiance (SIR) waveband of PARdir. In contrast, Chl a effectively avoided the high SPFD and/or high SIR waveband. The absorption spectra of photosynthetic complexes were negatively correlated with SPFD spectra, but LHCs with low a/b ratios were more positively correlated with SIR spectra. These findings indicate that the spectra of the photosynthetic pigments and constructed photosystems and antenna proteins significantly align with the terrestrial solar spectra to allow the safe and efficient use of solar radiation..
2. Atsushi Kume, Importance of the green color, absorption gradient, and spectral absorption of chloroplasts for the radiative energy balance of leaves, Journal of Plant Research, 10.1007/s10265-017-0910-z, 130, 3, 501-514, 2017.03, [URL], Terrestrial green plants absorb photosynthetically active radiation (PAR; 400–700 nm) but do not absorb photons evenly across the PAR waveband. The spectral absorbance of photosystems and chloroplasts is lowest for green light, which occurs within the highest irradiance waveband of direct solar radiation. We demonstrate a close relationship between this phenomenon and the safe and efficient utilization of direct solar radiation in simple biophysiological models. The effects of spectral absorptance on the photon and irradiance absorption processes are evaluated using the spectra of direct and diffuse solar radiation. The radiation absorption of a leaf arises as a consequence of the absorption of chloroplasts. The photon absorption of chloroplasts is strongly dependent on the distribution of pigment concentrations and their absorbance spectra. While chloroplast movements in response to light are important mechanisms controlling PAR absorption, they are not effective for green light because chloroplasts have the lowest spectral absorptance in the waveband. With the development of palisade tissue, the incident photons per total palisade cell surface area and the absorbed photons per chloroplast decrease. The spectral absorbance of carotenoids is effective in eliminating shortwave PAR (<520nm), which contains much of the surplus energy that is not used for photosynthesis and is dissipated as heat. The PAR absorptance of a whole leaf shows no substantial difference based on the spectra of direct or diffuse solar radiation. However, most of the near infrared radiation is unabsorbed and heat stress is greatly reduced. The incident solar radiation is too strong to be utilized for photosynthesis under the current CO2 concentration in the terrestrial environment. Therefore, the photon absorption of a whole leaf is efficiently regulated by photosynthetic pigments with low spectral absorptance in the highest irradiance waveband and through a combination of pigment density distribution and leaf anatomical structures..
3. Kaori Takemura, Hiroyuki Kamachi, Atsushi Kume, Tomomichi Fujita, Ichirou Karahara, Yuko T. Hanba, A hypergravity environment increases chloroplast size, photosynthesis, and plant growth in the moss Physcomitrella patens, Journal of Plant Research, 10.1007/s10265-016-0879-z, 130, 1, 181-192, 2016.11, [URL], The physiological and anatomical responses of bryophytes to altered gravity conditions will provide crucial information for estimating how plant physiological traits have evolved to adapt to significant increases in the effects of gravity in land plant history. We quantified changes in plant growth and photosynthesis in the model plant of mosses, Physcomitrella patens, grown under a hypergravity environment for 25 days or 8 weeks using a custom-built centrifuge equipped with a lighting system. This is the first study to examine the response of bryophytes to hypergravity conditions. Canopy-based plant growth was significantly increased at 10×g, and was strongly affected by increases in plant numbers. Rhizoid lengths for individual gametophores were significantly increased at 10×g. Chloroplast diameters (major axis) and thicknesses (minor axis) in the leaves of P. patens were also increased at 10×g. The area-based photosynthesis rate of P. patens was also enhanced at 10×g. Increases in shoot numbers and chloroplast sizes may elevate the area-based photosynthesis rate under hypergravity conditions. We observed a decrease in leaf cell wall thickness under hypergravity conditions, which is in contrast to previous findings obtained using angiosperms. Since mosses including P. patens live in dense populations, an increase in canopy-based plant numbers may be effective to enhance the toughness of the population, and, thus, represents an effective adaptation strategy to a hypergravity environment for P. patens..
4. Atsushi Kume, Tomoko Akitsu, Kenlo Nishida Nasahara, Leaf color is fine-tuned on the solar spectra to avoid strand direct solar radiation, Journal of Plant Research, 10.1007/s10265-016-0809-0, 129, 4, 615-624, 2016.03, [URL], The spectral distributions of light absorption rates by intact leaves are notably different from the incident solar radiation spectra, for reasons that remain elusive. Incident global radiation comprises two main components; direct radiation from the direction of the sun, and diffuse radiation, which is sunlight scattered by molecules, aerosols and clouds. Both irradiance and photon flux density spectra differ between direct and diffuse radiation in their magnitude and profile. However, most research has assumed that the spectra of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) can be averaged, without considering the radiation classes. We used paired spectroradiometers to sample direct and diffuse solar radiation, and obtained relationships between the PAR spectra and the absorption spectra of photosynthetic pigments and organs. As monomers in solvent, the spectral absorbance of Chl a decreased with the increased spectral irradiance (W m-2 nm-1) of global PAR at noon (R2 = 0.76), and was suitable to avoid strong spectral irradiance (λmax = 480 nm) rather than absorb photon flux density (μmol m-2 s-1 nm-1) efficiently. The spectral absorption of photosystems and the intact thallus and leaves decreased linearly with the increased spectral irradiance of direct PAR at noon (Idir-max), where the wavelength was within the 450–650 nm range (R2 = 0.81). The higher-order structure of photosystems systematically avoided the strong spectral irradiance of Idir-max. However, when whole leaves were considered, leaf anatomical structure and light scattering in leaf tissues made the leaves grey bodies for PAR and enabled high PAR use efficiency. Terrestrial green plants are fine-tuned to spectral dynamics of incident solar radiation and PAR absorption is increased in various structural hierarchies..
5. Atsushi Kume, Kenlo N Nasahara, Shin Nagai, Hiroyuki Muraoka, The ratio of transmitted near-infrared radiation to photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) increases in proportion to the adsorbed PAR in the canopy, Journal of Plant Research, 10.1007/s10265-010-0346-1, 124, 1, 99-106, 2011.01, [URL].
6. Atsushi Kume, Satoshi Numata, Koichi Watanabe, Hideharu Honoki, Haruki Nakajima, Megumi Ishida, Influence of air pollution on the mountain forests along the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, Ecological Research, 10.1007/s11284-008-0557-2, 27, 4, 821-830, 2009.07, [URL].
7. Shigeki Hirose, Atsushi Kume, Shinichi Takeuchi, Yasuhiro Utsumi, Kyoichi Otsuki, Shigeru Ogawa, Stem water transport of Lithocarpus edulis, an evergreen oak with radial-porous wood, Tree Physiology, 10.1093/treephys/25.2.221 , 25, 2, 221-228, 2005.02, [URL].
8. Atsushi Kume, Takami Satomura, Naoko Tsuboi, Masaaki Chiwa, Yuko T. Hanba, Kaneyuki Nakane, Takao Horikoshi, Hiroshi Sakugawa, Effects of understory vegetation on the ecophysiological characteristics of an overstory pine, Pinus densiflora, Forest Ecology and Management, 10.1016/S0378-1127(02)00282-7, 176, 1-3, 195-203, 176, 1-3, 195-203
doi:10.1016/S0378-1127(02)00282-7, 2003.03, [URL].
9. Atsushi Kume, Takemitsu Arakaki, Naoko Tsuboi, Masayo Suzuki, Daiki KUramoto, Kaneyuki Nakane, Hiroshi Sakugawa, Harmful effects of radicals generated in polluted dew on the needles of Japanese Red Pine (Pinus densiflora), New Phytologist, 10.1046/j.0028-646x.2001.00236.x, 152, 1, 53-58, 2001.10, [URL].
10. Atsushi Kume, Takayuki Nakatsubo, YUkiko Bekku, Takehiro Masuzawa, Ecological Significance of Different Growth Forms of Purple Saxifrage, Saxifraga oppositifolia L., in the High Arctic, Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 31, 1, 27-33, 1999.02, [URL].
11. Atsushi Kume, Chikako Tanaka, Shunichi Matsumoto, Yoshio Ino, Physiological tolerance of Camellia rusticana leaves to heavy snowfall environments: The effects of prolonged snow cover on evergreen leaves, Ecological Research, 10.1046/j.1440-1703.1998.00251.x, 13, 2, 117-124, 1998.07, [URL].
12. Atsushi Kume, Yoshio Ino, Comparison of ecophysiological responses to heavy snow in two varieties ofAucuba japonica with different areas of distribution , Ecological Research, 10.1007/BF02348523, 8, 2, 111-121, 1993.08, [URL].
Membership in Academic Society
  • The Japan Wood Research Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Botanical Society of America
  • Lichenological Society of Japan
  • Japan Geoscience Union
  • Japan Societry For Biological Sciences in Space
  • The Japanese Forest Society
  • The Botanical Society of Japan
  • Japanese Association of Historical Botany
  • Japan Wetland Society
  • Ecological Society of Japan
  • Japanese Society of Revegetation Technology
  • The Mycological Society of Japan
  • The Bryological Society of Japan
  • Japanese Society for Root Research
  • The Japanese Society of Forest Environment
  • Japan Society of Hydrology & Water Resources
  • The Society for the Study of Species Biology