Rustomji Hormusji Dastur, specializing in plant physiology and agronomy, earned his MSc in 1921 from Gujarat University. He was appointed as Professor and Head, Botany Department, Institute of Science, Bombay and as Investigator, Indian Central Cotton Committee for the Government of Punjab.
Academic and Research Achievements: Dastur’s works relate mainly the influence of factors such as water content, chlorophyll content, quality and polarization of light on photosynthesis, and on the physiology of the rice plant, physiology of tirak disease of cotton in Punjab, ‘bad opening’ of cotton bolls in other areas, physiology of Egyptian and Sea Island cottons in Punjab and Sindh, casual factors for red leaf formation, fertilizer requirements of cotton crop, carbohydrate and protein metabolism, and the physiology of Fusarium wilt of linseed. In addition, he described the anatomy of climbing plants belonging to the Menispermaceae, Malphigiaceae, Leguminoseae, Oleaceae, Canvolvulaceae, Piperaceae and Euphorbiaceae families. The anatomy of growth of tendrils was studied and a physical concept of the mechanism of curvature was also developed by him. In an attempt to elucidate leaf movements, Dastur compared the physiological changes in the pulvinus of a large number of genera and attributed the phenomenon to the difference in pH and turgor pressure in two (upper and lower) sides of pulvinus.
Other Contributions: Rustomji produced four monographs relating to cotton.
Awards and Honours: In 1945, Rustomji Hormusji received the Officer of the Order of British Empire (OBE). He was elected President, Botany Section, Indian Science Congress in 1933. Further, he was elected Fellow, Indian Botanical Society where he served as President in 1934, and the Indian Society for Plant Physiology where he was also nominated as President in 1959.