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绿色革命之父

已有 2531 次阅读 2018-5-7 19:11 |系统分类:人物纪事

     诺曼·博洛格(Norman Borlaug,1914年3月25-2009年9月12日),美国著名农业科学家、植物病理学家、遗传育种专家。1914年3月25日出生于艾奥瓦州克雷斯科市附近一座农场。他在明尼苏达大学学习林学,1937年获学士学位。 成长于美国经济大萧条时期的博洛格,切身体会过粮荒意味着什么。“大萧条的黑色土壤让我投身农业,”博洛格曾经说。他也是目前为止唯一一个获得诺贝尔奖的农业科学家。

    结束在墨西哥的工作后,博洛格并没有因“功成名就”而停下脚步。1963年,博洛格出任当时新成立的国际玉米小麦发展中心负责人,培养出数以千计科学后生。

1984年,博洛格时年71岁,已经退休,接获日本笹川和平财团已故创始人笹川良一的电话,邀请他帮助提高非洲国家粮食产量。博洛格回答:“我71岁,从头开始太晚了。”笹川回应道:“我比你年长15岁,所以我猜想,我们昨天就应该开始。”

    这番话打动了博洛格。在美国前总统吉米·卡特支持下,从那年开始,他接受笹川和平财团资助,在贝宁埃塞俄比亚加纳尼日利亚苏丹坦桑尼亚多哥等14个非洲国家试验种植高产作物品种。短期内,玉米产量增加两倍,小麦木薯高粱等作物产量也有不同程度的提高。

    1986年,博洛格创立世界粮食奖基金会,每年鼓励一名在世界粮食领域作出突出贡献者,奖金25万美元。1996年6月7日,博洛格成为中国工程院外籍院士。

    直至耄耋之年,博洛格仍致力于非洲消除饥荒事业。2007年,美国国会向博洛格颁发金质勋章。这是美国国会设立的个人最高荣誉。

艺高人低调

    博洛格创立的穿梭育种方法已为世界各国作物育种家广泛采用或认定。这也是他获得“绿色革命之父”美誉的最重要业绩之一。“非著名”的博洛格在提高粮食产量、抗击饥荒领域做出重大贡献,在业内有着“绿色革命之父”的美称。

“要尝试去摘星,即使永远也够不着它们,如果你足够努力,你总会在过程中得到一些星尘。”——引自博洛格生前座右铭

    Dr. Norman Borlaug was a key activist in the rebirth of American agriculture in the middle of the twentieth century. He is credited with initiating the Green Revolution, which was a movement to produce higher yielding crops in response to the population explosion and the reduction in farmland occurring worldwide. High-quality traits of crops from wheat and corn to peas were selected using classical breeding and innovative methods. Plant breeders looked for traits that would make certain plants more productive in grain or fruit. The selected varieties were successful in producing more grain and fruit than the previously cultivated varieties, but therewere drawbacks. For one, the more productive plants required large amounts of chemical fertilizer to enhance the size of grain or fruit. Fertilizer is not only expensive, but it can also have toxic methods of production. Therefore, farmers in poor countries had to invest a substantial a mount of money in fertilizers. Second, by selecting plants for large fruit traits and removing small fruit plants with other types of genes, the plant breeders inadvertently removed important genes needed for other plant functions,like defense against disease.
    In the 1970s, a corn variety called the “Texas male sterile” had been bred for traits ranging from high yield and harvesting ability to disease resistance. Not all of the disease resistant genes, however, had been bred into the Texas male sterile, leaving it vulnerable to previously unimportant pathogens. In fact, one such pathogen, Helminthosporium maydis(玉米小斑病菌), which causes the southern leaf blight disease, attacked cornfields in  the United States, which were 90% Texas male sterile. This disease eliminated half of the corn crops, but luckily some other corn varieties, which had been saved,were quickly planted, reducing the effect of the devastation.



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