Submitted to: Journal of Nematology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 5, 2005
Publication Date: March 1, 2005
Citation: Chitwood, D.J. 2005. Burton Yoshiaki Endo, 1926-2005. Journal of Nematology 37(1): 1-3.
Interpretive Summary: Nematodes are microscopic worms that attack plant roots and annually cause ten billion dollars of crop losses in the United States. Because the problem of nematode-induced crop damage has persisted for the past 50 years, ARS has maintained a research program in nematode biology and control at the Nematology Laboratory of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. This article is a short obituary describing the scientific achievements of one ARS scientist who enjoyed a long career in this Laboratory. Burton Yoshiaki Endo became an internationally esteemed expert in the microscopy of nematodes and their interactions with host plants. His major discoveries included the fact that nematodes possess specialized glands that secrete materials into plants. These secretions then cause the host plant to change its physiology to the benefit of the nematode. This was probably one of the ten most important discoveries in nematology of the last century. The achievements of Dr. Endo continue to be used by scientists around the world to develop crop plants that are resistant to attack by nematodes.
Burton Yoshiaki Endo was a nematologist with the United States Department of Agriculture and the longtime leader of the nematode ultrastructure program within USDA. He was born on February 5, 1926 in Castroville, California, and died on January 5, 2005. After graduating from high school at a relocation camp for Japanese Americans, Dr. Endo earned a B.S. in Horticulture from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from North Carolina State University in 1958. He was immediately hired by ARS at its Jackson, Tennessee facility and was transferred to Beltsville in 1963, where he worked until his retirement in 1995. He also served as Chair of the Plant Protection Institute at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center from 1974-1987. Dr. Endo's career produced nearly 100 scientific publications. During nearly 40 years with USDA, he amassed an impressive array of scientific achievements that greatly furthered our knowledge of the ultrastructure of nematodes and nematode-plant interactions in both resistant and susceptible plants. He served the Society of Nematologists as Treasurer and President. He received numerous honors, including Fellow and Honorary Member Awards in the Society of Nematologists, the Fellow Award in the European Society of Nematologists, the Anniversary Award of the Helminthological Society of Washington, and the Henry A. Wallace Award given by Iowa State University for outstanding contributions to agriculture.