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Patricia Berjak

Patricia Berjak, South African seed biologist (Johannesburg 29 December 1939 – Durban 21 January 2015)

Married to botanist Norman W. Pammenter

Authored over 140 papers

Recognized as a world leader on the study of seeds mainly recalcitrant ones

Elucidated the nature of varied responses of recalcitrant seeds to desiccation and the role of calcium in rehydration  

Described a modified procedure for the preparation of maize root tips for electron microscopy (1968)

During his doctoral thesis discovered the means to substantially reduce fungal growth in maize seeds that result from poor storage conditions (1969)

Defined the role of the deteriorative seed-associated fungi in recalcitrant seeds

Refined seed storage practices

Developed the application of cryobiology principles to the long-term conservation of the plant species that produce recalcitrant species


Elected President, International Society for Seed Science (2005-11)