Yash Pal Abrol earned his BSc degree from Punjab University and MSc from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi after which he joined the Plant Physiology Division of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi. He received his PhD degree (1965) from the University of Chicago. He was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California under the mentorship of Professor Eric E Conn. After returning to India, he again joined IARI and headed the Division of Plant Physiology as a Professor. Later on he worked as CSIR Emeritus Scientist (1996-2001) and INSA Senior Scientist (2001-06). Presently he is an INSA Honorary Scientist (2006- ) and Adjunct Professor, Hamdard University, New Delhi.
Academic and Research Achievements: Abrol's studies on 'cyanogenic glycosides' led to the elucidation of biosynthetic pathways/identification of two new cyanogenic compounds and refuted the presence of another in Lotus arabicus L. He established that the cyanogenic glycosides are metabolically active rather than inert end products. He also elucidated biochemical and rheological characteristics of PbC, K and NP wheat series for chapatti quality as compared to Mexican Dwarf wheat varieties/germplasm which were introduced in India. His exhaustive Analysis on nitrogen fertilizer Use contributed significantly to the 'understanding of the 'regulation of nitrate assimilation'. Professor Abrol worked out a complete N balance sheet of wheat and barley, which formed the basis for understanding and recommendation for optimal utilization of Nitrogen. He published more than 150 research papers and several review papers in different Indian/International Journals, and also edited 15 volumes of publication in various fields relating to agricultural and plant studies. He guided 12 PhD students.
Other Contributions: Professor Abrol was a Chairman, Research Advisory Council, Institute for Himalayan Resources, Palampur (1991-93). He organized 'Society for Conservation of Nature' and participated in environmental awareness activities along with the Ministry of Environment, Government of India. Primarily he was instrumental in establishing the Indian Nitrogen Group and International Nitrogen Initiative, an IGBP/SCOPE/UNEP supported body. These activities have resulted in establishing South Asian Nitrogen Centre (SANC). He was instrumental in starting the Journal of Plant Biology and also worked as a Guest Editor for a special section of the journal Current Science in 2008.
Awards and Honours: He was awarded FAI Dhiru Morarji Memorial Award of Fertilizer Association of India; Ist Prize in Agricultural Sciences (1970), RD Asana Award (1978) of ICAR, Sukumar Basu Award (1980) of IARI, ICAR 'National Fellowship' (1978-84), FICCI Award (1990) and VASVIK Award (1994). He was invited for TM Das Memorial Lecture (Indian Society for Plant Physiology) in 1993 and Indian Science Congress's Platinum Jubilee Lecture in 1995. He was also awarded with 'Birbal Sahni Medal (2008) by the Indian Botanical Society. He is a Fellow of National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1984), Indian Academy of Sciences (1986), National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1991) and Indian Society of Plant Physiology, New Delhi (1993).