photo:Tomonori Sonoki Associate Professor

Tomonori Sonoki

  • Title Associate Professor
  • Department Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Course Applied Life Science Course
  • Research Field Applied Microbiology
  • E-mail sonoki [at]
    please substitute @ for [at]
  • Phone +81-172-39-3585


We are focusing on bio-based materials production. It is becoming to be able to produce platform chemicals, that have been produced from petroleum, from non-edible plant biomass (lignocellulose) by using microbial function. Microbes have been developing variety of metabolic pathways and cell structures to adapt to the environment. Our goal is to develop a super cell factory for producing platform chemicals through biochemical and molecular biological analyses of such attractive microbial functions. If you are interested in “bio-based sustainable production”, please feel free to contact us. 

Also, we are now recruiting graduate students and PhD candidates who are interested in our research field. Feel free to contact us if you want to join us. 

Research Theme

The research interests of us are

✔ to reveal the complicated but reasonable metabolism of microbes, and apply those to develop new bio processes enabling to produce platform chemicals from lignin. 

✔ to use plant cell wall degradation enzymes to improve the saccharification efficiency of lignocellosic materials.

Education & Appointments

2002. Post-doctoral fellow granted by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co. Ltd., JAPAN.

2003. Post-doctoral fellow granted by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), JAPAN. 

2004. Research Scientist, New Frontier Research Laboratories, Toray Industries Inc., JAPAN. 

2008-Present. Associate professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Science, Hirosaki University, JAPAN.



▶ Sonoki T, Takahashi K, Sugita H, Hatamura M, Azuma Y, Sato T, Suzuki S, Kamimura N, Masai E. Glucose-free cis,cis-muconic acid production via new metabolic designs corresponding to the heterogeneity of lignin. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. 6(1):1256-1264.

▶ Iimura Y, Sonoki T, Habe H. Heterologous expression of Trametes versicolor laccase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Protein Expression and Purification. 141:39-43.



▶ Iiyoshi R, Oguchi T, Furukawa T, Iimura Y, Ito Y, Sonoki T. Expression of fungal laccase fused with cellulose binding domain can improve saccharification efficiency of Arabidopsis thaliana. Transgenic Research. 26(6):753-761.

▶ Senda M, Yamaguchi N, Hiraoka M, Kawada S, Iiyoshi R, Sonoki T, Maeda H, Kawasaki M. Accumulation of proanthocyanidins and lignin deposition in buff-pigmented soybean seed coats may lead to frequent defective cracking.    Planta. 245:659-670.



▶ Kondo S, Sugimura K, Okamura Y, Sato-Izawa K, Otsuka Y, Nakamura M, Kajita S, Masai E, Sonoki T, Katayama Y. 2016.Stable chiral carboxymuconolactone production from a lignin-related aromatic compound, protocatechuic acid. Fermentation Technology. 5(3):135-138

▶ Otsuka Y, Matsuda M, Sonoki T, Sato-Izawa K, Goodell B, Jellison J, Murata H, Nakamura M. The enzymatic activities of cell free extract from acidophilic Burkholderia oxyphila OX-01 catalyzes anaerobic oxidation at the C-4 position of (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin into (+)-taxifolin. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. 80(12):2473-2479.

▶ Abe T, Iiyoshi R, Ito K, Takahashi Y, Sato K, Matsuzaka A, Sonoki T, Ito Y.  Difference of saccharification yields among organs and growth stages in rice. Plant Biotechnology, 33:105-110.

▶ Qian Y, Otsuka Y, Sonoki T, Mukhopadhyay B, Nakamura M, Masai E, Katayama Y, Okamura-Abe Y, Jellison J, Goodell B. Engineered microbial production of 2-pyrone-4,6-dicarboxylic acid from lignin residues for use as an industrial platform chemical. Bioresources. 11(3):6097-6109. 

▶ Okamura-Abe Y, Abe T, Nishimura K, Kawana Y, Sato-Izawa K, Otsuka Y, Nakamura M, Kajita S, Masai E, Sonoki T, Katayama Y. Beta-ketoadipic acid and muconolactone production from a lignin-related aromatic compound through the protocatechuate 3,4-metabolic pathway. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering. 121(6):652-658.


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Keyword :
1.22.2019 update

Tomonori Sonoki