A short biography of Constance Endicott Hartt is presented here, followed by her research on the biochemical mechanism of sucrose synthesis in the sugarcane leaf. The excellence of her approach led to delineation, in the sugarcane leaf, of much of the path of carbon in photosynthesis and the unique involvement of malic acid in the production of sucrose, two decades before the classic publication by H.P. Kortschak, C. Hartt and G.O. Burr in 1965 (Plant Physiol. 40: 209–213). The impressive contributions of Constance Hartt to plant biological science had been overlooked because of her isolation from the mainstream plant biochemistry and by the passage of time. Not until the 7th International Botanical Congress in Stockholm, 1950, and her participation in the 1958 Plant Physiology annual meeting at Bloomington, Indiana, USA, did she have an opportunity to interact with scientists in the field of sucrose biosynthesis and, even then, not extensively. Her papers, since 1935, published in The Hawaiian Planters’ Record, are no longer widely available. In this Tribute to Constance Hartt, we hope to define her role in developing concepts of the unique process by which the sugarcane leaf produces sugar, besides her contributions to the landmark discovery of unique (now known as C4) pathway of carbon fixation in sugarcane.
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Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association
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The authors are indebted to the assistance (in alphabetical order) of Clanton Black, George O. Burr (1896–1987), Govindjee, Marshall D. Hatch, Ralph Holman, Jack Myers (1913–2006) and Louis G. Nickell.
Hartt CE (1933) Studies on the invertase of sugarcane. Hawaiin Planters’ Rec 37: 13–14Google Scholar
Hartt CE (1934a) Water and cane ripening. Hawaiin Planters’ Rec 38: 193–206Google Scholar
Hartt CE (1934b) Some effects of potassium upon the growth of sugarcane and upon the absorption and migration of ash constituents. Plant Physiol 9: 399–451.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hartt CE (1934c) Some effects of potassium upon the amounts of nitrogen, sugars, and enzyme activity of sugarcane. Plant Physiol 9: 452–490.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hartt CE (1943) The synthesis of sucrose in the sugarcane plant – II. The effects of several inorganic and organic compounds upon the interconversion of glucose and fructose and the formation of sucrose in the detached organs of the sugarcane plant. Hawaiin Planters’ Rec 47: 155–170Google Scholar
Hartt CE (1944) The synthesis of sucrose in the sugarcane plant – IV. Concerning the mechanism of sucrose synthesis in the sugarcane plant. Hawaiin Planters’ Rec 48: 31–42Google Scholar
Hartt CE (1947) The synthesis of sucrose in the sugarcane plant. Hawaiian Planters’ Rec 47: 113–132, 155–170, 223–255Google Scholar