Chapter 1 Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858–1937): A Pioneer in Photosynthesis Research and Discoverer of Unique Carbon Assimilation in Hydrilla

  • Agepati S. Raghavendra
  • Govindjee
Part of the Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration book series (AIPH, volume 32)


Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858–1937) is acknowledged as the greatest interdisciplinary scientist in India; he was a pioneer of not only Physics, but of Plant Biology. Essentially, he was the father of Biophysics, long before it became a field. He was almost 60 years ahead of his time in his ideas, research and analysis. Bose had several out-of-box concepts and designed his own innovative instruments to facilitate his research. He made several discoveries during his studies on physiology and biophysics of plants, particularly the electrical nature of conduction of various stimuli. His interest shifted during early 1920s from physics towards the physiology of plant movements and then photosynthesis. He fabricated and used a unique photosynthesis recorder to study extensively the carbon assimilation pattern, actually measured through oxygen evolution, in an aquatic plant, Hydrilla verticillata. Bose made a phenomenal discovery that a unique type of carbon fixation pathway operated in Hydrilla. The plants of Hydrilla during summer time were more efficient in utilizing CO2 and light. The summer-type plants used malate as a source of CO2 and appeared to be different from Crasulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) plants. These findings of Bose appeared anomalous at his time but are now known to illustrate an instance of non-Kranz single cell type C4-mechanism. In view of his major research contributions, we consider J.C. Bose as a pioneer of photosynthesis research not only in India but also in the world.


Malic Acid Carbon Assimilation Crassulacean Acid Metabolism Photosynthetic Characteristic Photosynthesis Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Crassulacean acid metabolism;

J.C. Bose

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose



The preparation of this chapter was supported by a grant from J.C. Bose National Fellowship (No. SR/S2/JCB-06/2006, to ASR) of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi, India. Govindjee was supported by the Department of Plant Biology of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Sciences, School of Life SciencesUniversity of HyderabadHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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