Institute of Global Innovation Research



Institute of Global Innovation Research



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Yearly archive

[FOOD] Toyoda Team

Development of soil evaluation systems for environmentally friendly sustainable crop production

Team Head

Koki Toyoda

Affiliation Institute of Agriculture
Division / Department Division of Sciences for Biological System
Position Professor

Foreign Researcher(s)

Karl Ritz

Affiliation University of Nottingham (U.K.)
Division / Department School of Biosciences
Position Professor

Roland Perry

Affiliation University of Hertfordshire (U.K.)
Division / Department Department of Biological and Environmental Achiences
Position Visiting Lecturer


Soh Sugihara (Institute of Global Innovation / Organization for Promotion of Tenure-track System / Associate Professor), Lee Chol Gyu (Institute of Agriculture / Assistant Professor), Megumi Yamashita (Institute of Agriculture / Senior Assistant Professor) , Kozue Sawada (JSPS postdoctoral fellow)


This research team has studied on crop productivity, its sustainability and improvement, based on the soil fertility, soil-borne plant pathogens, plant parasitic nematodes, and remote sensing data in Viet Nam, Myanmar, India, Tanzania, Cameroon, China as well as Japan. The most important key words to increase crop productivity in a sustainable manner are to stimulate carbon and nutrient recycling mediated by microbial function through organic amendment. In this study, we will focus on local resources-deriving biochar and compost and green manure and establish soil evaluation systems for environmentally friendly sustainable crop production best adapted to local conditions through analyses of soil organic matter management, microbial functioning, plant pathogens and nematodes.


As the United Nations General Assembly declared 2015 “the International Year of Soils”, the importance of soil is widely recognized. This is because over 90% of the world’s food is produced in soil. Healthy soil is essential in sustainable food security. In addition, the improvement of cop productivity through effective utilization of soil resources will contribute to economic growth in a country and closely relate to poverty solutions. However, 20 to 30 billion tons of soil are annually lost by water erosion and wind erosion and crop productivity is decreasing in such degrading lands. About a half of global crop production is damaged by diseases, pests and weeds and it amounts to 500 million tons annually. In addition, climate change is becoming a new threat in crop production in many production areas. It is essential to propose a sustainable use of soil adapted to future climate change and to establish how to evaluate the effects of climate change.
For sustainable use of soil, it is important to maintain/improve crop productivity while minimizing environmental impacts through effective managements of soil organic matter, diseases and nematode pests. Thus, the objective of this study is to develop soil evaluation systems for environmentally friendly sustainable crop production.


Triple rice cultivation has been practiced for nearly 40 years in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD), the major rice producing center in Viet Nam, but there are few studies that have focused on the sustainability of rice production via soil fertility and microbial functioning. Another serious concern in VMD is the increasing occurrence of saltwater intrusion by climate change. We aim to propose the best cropping system by evaluating soil fertility and sustainability of different cropping patterns.
Myanmar is the largest producer of sesame and Viet Nam is the largest producer of pepper and the second largest producer of coffee. Damage by plant parasitic nematodes is spreading in the countries. We are now conducting nematode survey and try to develop nematode control methods in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
India is the second largest producer of rice and wheat, but their productivity is not high. The application of local resources-deriving biochar and compost is essential to improve their productivity. We aim to develop how to utilize local resources to improve crop productivity in a sustainable manner.
In Africa, both nitrogen and phosphorous are often the major yield limiting factors and thus we aim to stimulate recycling of soil organic matter through analysis of microbial community function in the rhizosphere and to minimize global warming gas emissions through analysis and manipulation of soil microbial community.
Diseases and pests are sometimes the major threats in crop production. We aim to establish an environmentally friendly crop production system through meta-analysis of soil biome. By connecting information on soil-plant-air through remote sensing technology, we aim to develop a wide range of soil evaluation systems.


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