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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

ARS 50th Anniversary Celebration

Logo Image for "A R S : The Future Grows Here"Agricultural Research Service
50th Anniversary

National Scientific Leadership Meeting and
Annual Recognition Program

Proud Past and Promising Future
January 21-23, 2004
New Orleans, Louisiana

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  Autar Mattoo

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Autar MattooDr. Autar Mattoo, Research Leader of the Vegetable Laboratory, Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, USDA-ARS, Beltsville, Maryland, is known internationally as an authority in two diverse programs: molecular aspects of chloroplast function with particular emphasis on the photosystem II reaction center proteins, and regulation of ethylene biosynthesis and fruit ripening. His pioneering investigations have provided fundamental new knowledge and novel concepts. Dr. Mattoo elucidated the complete metabolic life history of a key component of photosynthesis and demonstrated its reversible, photo-regulated posttranslational covalent attachment of phosphate and palmitic acid (palmitoylation). Dr. Mattoo successfully applied an aspect of these basic fundamental discoveries in co-developing an ultrasensitive thermostable biosensor, for rapid detection of residual herbicides such as atrazine and diuron in soil and water.  Dr. Mattoo also pioneered the regulatory interaction and metabolic linkage between biosynthesis of polyamines and ethylene in higher plants. He discovered that polyamines inhibit ethylene biosynthesis in a variety of fruit and vegetative tissues by suppressing the expression of a key enzyme called ACC synthase, resulting in rerouting the metabolic flux into synthetic reactions.  He applied this new knowledge by a novel strategy to produce functional food - transgenic tomatoes containing high lycopene, better fruit juice quality and longer vine life.   

Dr. Mattoo's accomplishments are documented in 196 research papers published in high-impact science journals. He has guided more than a dozen Ph.D. students and advised 75 or more postdoctoral research associates and visiting scientists/Professors from the U.S. and from foreign countries in biochemistry and molecular biology. He twice chaired the Gordon Research Conference on Plant Senescence, and served on Technical Advisory Committee of US-Israel BARD. Dr. Mattoo has presented over 100 invited lectures at national and international meetings, as well as over 90 guest lectures at various Universities and research Institutes. Dr. Mattoo has been an invited keynote speaker and/or session Chair at numerous international symposia, in Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, U.A.E., U.K., Ukraine, and USA, in the areas of biochemistry, molecular biology and physiology. 

Dr. Mattoo obtained his M.Sc. (Biochemistry) and Ph.D. (Microbiology) degrees from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (India).  He was a visiting scientist in Australia (1975-76) and Israel (1979-80; 1985; 1988).  He served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington Section of the American Society of Plant Physiologists in 1987. 

Dr. Mattoo was recognized as the Beltsville Area Scientist of the Year (1998), ARS's Distinguished Senior Scientist of the Year (1998), Secretary of Agriculture's “People Making a Difference” award (1999), and USDA Secretary's Honor Award for Scientific Excellence (1999).

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Last Modified: 8/20/2014
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