Agrobacterium Discovery Leads To World Food Prize For Syngenta Researcher

During an announcement ceremony today at the U.S. State Department, Secretary of State John Kerry provided the keynote address where Syngenta Biotechnology founder and Distinguished Science Fellow Mary-Dell Chilton, Ph.D., was named a 2013 World Food Prize Laureate along with two other distinguished scientists. The $250,000 World Food Prize is known as the “Nobel Prize for food and agriculture” and is the foremost international award recognizing an individual who has enhanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

“What began as curiosity-driven fundamental research has now found worldwide application in agriculture with the promise of benefitting all mankind,” said Dr. Chilton. “The committee’s decision to award the World Food Prize to biotechnology researchers will help convey to consumers the value, utility and safety of genetically engineered crops. I am both humbled and extremely grateful for this honor.”

Dr. Chilton’s work has led to the development of a number of genetically-enhanced crops, which, by 2012, were grown on more than 170 million hectares around the globe by 17.3 million farmers, over 90% of whom were small resource-poor farmers in developing countries.

Dr. Chilton conducted groundbreaking molecular research on how a plant bacterium could be adapted as a tool to insert genes from another organism into plant cells, which could produce crop varieties with new innovative traits. In 1982, Chilton and her team harnessed the gene-transfer mechanism of the bacterium, Agrobacterium, to produce a transgenic plant. Her work provided new tools to protect plants from the environment and enhance yield that complement traditional plant breeding in a very precise way. It is that work that has earned her the title 2013 World Food Prize Laureate, an award she calls the most significant of her career.

Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, president of Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc., said, “At Syngenta, our purpose is ‘bringing plant potential to life’ and no one better exemplifies this than Mary-Dell Chilton. Her trailblazing work in biotechnology has provided an import element of our integrated, solutions-based offer of seeds, crop protection and seed care that is helping farmers grow more from less to meet the needs of a growing world population.” 

Dr. Chilton has been honored with numerous accolades for her work over the years:

  • CSSA Presidential Award, Crop Science Society of America, 2011
  • Washington University, St. Louis, establishes the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professorship in Arts and Sciences, 2009
  • Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, 2002 (Previous winners include Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Pierre and Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking).
  • John Scott Award, City of Philadelphia, 2000
  • Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology, 1994
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1993
  • Hendricks Medal, American Chemical Society, 1987
  • North Carolina Board of Science and Technology, 1986
  • David Gottlieb Medal, University of Illinois, 1986
  • Rank Prize in Nutrition (United Kingdom), 1986
  • National Academy of Sciences, 1985

The World Food Prize honor will be formally bestowed upon Dr. Chilton and the other 2013 laureates on October 17, 2013 during the Laureate Award Ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Agrobacterium Discovery Leads To World Food Prize For Syngenta Researcher

Crop Inputs Stories

HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Delivers Two New Winter Wheat Varieties To Eastern Corn Belt
August 6, 2014
Adding to its portfolio of AgriPro brand wheat varieties, Syngenta introduces SY 007 and SY 474 soft red winter wheat varieties. Read More
Aerial view of the West Fertilizer explosion site
FertilizerFertilizer Companies Blame City For West, TX, Explosion
August 6, 2014
El Dorado Chemical Co. and CF Industries contend the city failed to properly train the first responders and had insufficient protocols in place to battle the April 17, 2013, blaze at West Fertilizer Co. that triggered the explosion. Read More
FungicidesResearchers Target Soybean Disease With Genetic Resistance Study
August 6, 2014
University of Illinois researchers will share new information on controlling sudden death syndrome through genetic resistance at this year's Agronomy Day. Read More

Trending Articles

ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More
EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. Read More
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Lemon Ag Services
August 4, 2014
The acquisition of Lemon Ag fits BRANDT’s aggressive corporate strategy of providing superior agronomic advice and services for customers in central Illinois. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Resurgence Of Crop Protection
August 4, 2014
Plenty of new offerings over the next few years should see a rebirth for the crop protection products category in terms of market share. Read More

Latest News

Crop InputsBASF Is Betting On A Bright Agricultural Future
September 1, 2014
The crop protection products giant is gearing up for a busy time in agriculture by investing in both product production and development over the next couple of years. Read More
Eric SfiligojAn Erie Feeling For Ag
September 1, 2014
Plenty of water issues have been in the news lately, including the continuing drought in California. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires California-Based Retailer
August 29, 2014
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings will acquire Kerman Ag Resources, Inc., which will operate under Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
Allied Cooperative Grain Plant
ManagementArcadia Co-op To Merge With Allied Cooperative
August 28, 2014
Allied Cooperative has announced that members of Arcadia Co-op voted in favor of a merger with Allied Cooperative, paving the way for the consolidation which will be effective on December 1, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesBioinsecticide VENERATE Now Registered In California
August 27, 2014
Marrone Bio Innovations' VENERATE is a new tool to help California growers control crop-damaging insect pests, fight the development of insect resistance and reduce pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Read More
CropLife 100Two Iowa-Based Ag Co-ops To Merge
August 27, 2014
The Board of Directors and management of United Western Coop, Missouri Valley, IA has completed a merger with Heartland Co-op, West Des Moines, IA, effective September 1, 2014. Read More
FertilizerKoch Expands AGROTAIN Nitrogen Stabilizer Portfolio
August 26, 2014
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC has added two new innovative nitrogen stabilizers to the AGROTAIN product family – AGROTAIN ADVANCED and AGROTAIN DRI-­MAXX. Read More
Seed/BiotechDuPont To Build Two Seed Treatment Centers
August 26, 2014
DuPont has announced construction on two state-of-the-art centers dedicated to developing and testing seed treatment formulations, applications and seed handling techniques in an important step toward bringing new solutions to growers. Read More
Seed/BiotechLoveland Products Acquires A Controlling Interest In Ag…
August 26, 2014
Loveland Products, a subsidiary of Agrium , has announced the company has acquired a controlling interest in Agricen, a Dallas-area agricultural biotechnology company delivering biochemical-based products for efficient and sustainable plant nutrition. Read More
StewardshipUp Close Look At The 2014 Environmental Respect Award W…
August 25, 2014
The 2014 Environmental Respect Award winners were honored recently at the 24th annual event in Wilmington, DE. Read More
Eric SfiligojAg Science Rejection Carries Consequences
August 25, 2014
As innuendo and fear dog the regulatory process, agriculture can’t get the new tools it needs to combat world hunger. Read More
LegislationFarmers Dismayed As New Farm Bill Dumps Direct Payments
August 25, 2014
The threatened end of cash subsidies to the nation’s row crop farmers dates back through at least the last two iterations of national agriculture policy legislation. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK CEO To Retire
August 22, 2014
GROWMARK chief executive officer Jeff Solberg has announced his retirement effective September 15, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesDuPont’s Prevathon Approved For Dry Beans
August 22, 2014
DuPont Prevathon insect control powered by Rynaxypyr has received EPA registration for foliar use on dry bean crops, including dried shelled peas and beans. Read More
ManagementNCGA DuPont New Leaders Program Enters Sophmore Season
August 20, 2014
The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the second year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program. Read More
FungicidesVerdesian Links Up With Mitsui, Hokusan
August 20, 2014
Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc., and Hokusan Co., announced the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement allowing Verdesian Life Sciences global access to its patented technology for suppressing mycotoxin contamination in wheat and barley. Read More
SprayersUniversity Of Illinois Introduces New Spray App
August 18, 2014
University of Illinois Extension has released a new smartphone app for making sprayer-related calculations. Pesticide Spray Calculator, or Spray Calc, Read More