Mandayam Chakravarthi Srinivasan graduated from Presidency College, Madras (now Chennai) with Botany as his principal subject and was awarded Fyson Prize for the best botanical collections. He obtained PhD (Mycology and Plant Pathology) from University of Poona under the guidance of Professor MK Patel and Dr MJ Thirumalachar. He joined the Division of Biochemical Sciences, National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune (1957) and worked there until his retirement as the Head of Biochemical Sciences Division. He was deputed to study at the Microbiology Laboratory of Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, USA under Professor VR Srinivasan and visited several research centres in Japan, Europe and USA to interact with leading researchers in the area of cellulose bioconversion under the sponsored UNDP projects.
Academic and Research Achievements: Srinivasan's researches centred around microbial biodiversity, taxonomy and enzyme technology based on novel microbial systems. He was associated with the National Collection of Industrial Microorganisms (NCIM) project at NCL and was instrumental in isolating several novel microbial cultures from indigenous habitats and developing process technologies for several industrial enzymes, notably bacterial alpha-amylase, fungal cellulase, fungal alkaline protease and cellulase-free xylanase from alkalophilic bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi. He actively worked in fungal taxonomy including description of new species and published monographs on specific fungal genera, industrial microbiology and obtained national and international patents for enzyme technology based on his novel microbial isolates. During 1969-70, he worked at the Institute of Seed Pathology at Copenhagen, Denmark where he developed innovative techniques for detection of seed-borne phytopathogenic bacteria and for sporulation and long term in vitro conservation of seed borne fungal species. He authored a book on Practical Mycology for Industrial Biotechnologists (2004). He was Principal Investigator for UNDP-supported projects at NCL on Cellulosic Biomass Conversion to Protein Food and Renewable Fuels.
Other Contributions: Srinivasan served as Member of the Program Advisory Committee (Life Sciences) of the Department of Science and Technology, a Panel Member of the Department of Biotechnology for Project Evaluation and Research Advisory Council of the Agharkar Research Institute, Pune. He was nominated to the World Federation of Culture Collections (WFCC) as Panel Member of the Committee on Endangered Culture Collections. He served as Consultant to Biocon (India) Ltd, Bangalore and Jupiter Biosciences Ltd, Secunderabad. He was also on the International Editorial Board of World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology for several years.
Awards and Honours: Dr Srinivasan was recipient of the JV Bhat-Eureka Forbes Award for Excellence in Microbiology (1990). He was elected President of the Mycological Society of India and Fellow of the Maharashtra Academy of Sciences.