Davis Joseph Bagyaraj earned his BSc (Agri) from Mysore University, MSc (Agri) from Karnatak University, Dharwad and PhD from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. He had his post-doctoral training at DSIR laboratory, Auckland, New Zealand; at Waite Research Institute, Adelaide, Australia and at University of Reading, UK. As a Visiting Scientist on a Fulbright Fellowship, he was introduced to mycorrhiza, a soil-plant-fungus Association in 1976 at the University of California, Riverside, USA. He also worked as a Visiting Scientist at New Zealand (1981-83) and as a Senior Scientist at Oregon State University, USA (1988). He joined the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore as an Assistant Professor of Microbiology (1966) and then became Professor and Head. He worked as an INSA Senior Scientist (2004-08) in the same University. Currently he is NASI Sr. Scientist and Chairman, CNBRCD, Bangalore.
Academic and Research Achievements: Bagyaraj taught agricultural microbiology to under-graduate and post-graduate levels. He initiated systematic investigations on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in India. He provided the first clear evidence on the occurrence of AMF in submerged aquatic plants. He demonstrated that the improved growth in mycorrhizal plants is through better uptake of diffusion limited nutrients and increased resistance to water stress and root pathogens. He brought out the synergistic interaction between AMF and other beneficial soil organisms like Azotobacter, Rhizobium and phosphate solubilisers; developed facile procedures for screening and selecting AMF for crops important in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; provided clear evidence for the existence of host preference by AMF; demonstrated 25-50 % saving of P fertilizer through AMF inoculation and developed technology for commercial production of AMF. Dr Bagyaraj has published 350 research papers, 74 review articles/book chapters and written 8 books. He has mentored nearly 60 post-graduate students.
Other Contributions: Dr Bagyaraj has been invited either to deliver lectures or evaluate projects on mycorrhiza in different parts of the world. He has trained scientists from several countries on mycorrhizal techniques. As Chairman of Centre for Natural Biological Resources and Community Development, Bangalore, he has taken the results of research on eco-friendly microbes to the welfare of the society, thus enhancing the economy of marginal farmers and reducing environmental pollution. He is currently the President and Editor-in-Chief of the Indian Society of Soil Biology and Ecology.
Awards and Honours: Dr Bagyaraj received several awards and honours that include: Shome Memorial Award (1996); SR Vyas Memorial Award (1998); the Distinguished Alumni Award of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore (2001); Life Time Achievement Award (2004); and Rangaswami Memorial Award (2005); Prof. T.S. Sadasivan Lecture Award of INSA for outstanding contributions in Plant Sciences (2009); Dr. V Agnihotrudu Memorial Lecture Award of MSI for outstanding contributions in Mycology (2011); Life Time Achievement Award in Mycology & Plant Pathology at BHU (2012); Dr. R. Y. Roy Memorial Lecture Award (2012). Prof. K. Natarajan Memorial Award from Mycological Society of India (2014). Invited to contribute for the Global Atlas on Soil Biodiversity by European Commission (2015); Member of FAO initiative on Global Soil Partnership (2014-continuing). He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad; National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi and National Academy of Biological Sciences, Chennai; The Society of Agricultural Biotechnologists.