Botanisches Institut

Curriculum vitae of Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Hartmut K. Lichtenthaler


Address:              Botanisches Institut II, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Kaiserstr. 12, D-76128

                            Tel.: +49 721 608 3833,  Private: + 49 721 492009
                            Email: hartmut.lichtenthaler∂



Born on:              20 June 1934 in Weinheim/Baden, Germany



1940-1944           Elementary School, Sinsheim, Baden

1944-1953           High School (Gymnasium), Sinsheim, Baden; Graduation (Abitur) 1953



1953-1955           Pharmaceutical internship in Heidelberg (Pharmaceut. Vorexamen 1955)

1955-1958           Studies of Pharmacy in Karlsruhe (Pharmaceut. Staatsexamen 1958)

1958-1961           Studies of Botany (Plant physiology), Chemistry and Physics at Univ. of Heidelberg

May 1961            PhD in Botany at the University of Heidelberg (with Prof.  August Seybold)

1961                   Euratom research fellow at Centre d'Etudes Nucléaires and University of
                          Grenoble/France (with Prof. Paul Ozenda) (July-December 1961)

1962-1964           University of California Berkeley, NATO Research Fellow with Prof. Melvin Calvin

1964-1970           Botanical Institute, University of Münster/Westphalia

1964                   Scientific assistant, 1967-1970 Lecturer/Associate Professor

Sept.1, 1970       Full Professor and head of the Botanical Institute, chair of Botany II (Plant Physiology,
  Pharmaceutical Biology and Plant Biochemistry) at the University of Karlsruhe, now
  Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

2001                   Emeritus professor    



1992                Honorary member of the Hungarian Society of Plant Physiology

1994                Medal of Merits of the Mendel-University of Brno, Czech Republic

1996                Medal of Merits of the Technical University of Budapest

1996                Honorary doctorate (Dr. h.c.) Mendel-University of Brno, Czech Republic

1997                Honorary doctorate (Dr. h.c.) and honorary professor (Prof. h.c.),
                       ​ELTE University, Budapest

2000                Farkás Gabor Medal of Merits of the Hungarian Society for Plant Physiology

2001                Honorary doctorate (Dr. h.c.) of Szent Istvan University, Gödöllö, Hungary.

2001                Order of Merits of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz am

2003                Gregor J. Mendel Honorary Medal for Merits in Bio-Sciences 
                       (conferred by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague)

2004                Terry Galliard Medal for Research in Plant Lipid Biochemistry

2005                Medal of Honor of the Science Faculty, Eötvös University (ELTE), Budapest

2010                Corresponding Membership Award of the American Society of Plant Biologists ASPB

2015                Lifetime Achievement Award (LTA-Award) for Photosynthesis of the Rebeiz
                       Foundation, Champaign, USA, for discoveries on “Chloroplast Structure and
                       Isoprenoid Biochemistry”

2017               Honorary membership of the German Botanical Society DBG


Book dedication

1989               The Proceedings book of the 8th International Symposium on Plant Lipids (ISPL) held in Budapest

                      on July 25 – 28, 1988  (“Biological Role of Plant Lipids”, Peter A. Biacs, Katalyn Gruiz, Tibor

                      Kremmer, eds., Plenum Press, New York, 1989) was dedicated to Hartmut K. Lichtenthaler


Other Activities:

1973                   Visiting professor at University of California, Berkeley (with Melvin Calvin)

1975                   Guest professor at the University of Göteborg, Sweden (with Hemming Virgin)

1981                   Guest professor at the University of Lancaster, England (with Alan Wellburn)

1974-1978           Founding member of the Federation of Europ. Societies of Plant Physiology (FESPP)

1980-1986           Chairman of the Section of Plant Physiology of the German Botanical Society

1980-1986           National delegate to the Federation of European Societies of Plant Physiology  

1984-1988           Member of the FESPP Executive Council 

1984-1986           President of the Federation of European Societies of Plant Physiology (FESPP)

1980-1983           Scientific Coordinator of the International OECD Research Program: „Enhancement
                           of photosynthesis and the biological solar energy conversion“

1984-1986           Speaker of the PEF-research groups of forest decline research, Baden-Württemberg

1984 – 1987 ​        Remote sensing of forest decline in cooperation with NASA/USA and DLR 


1988 – 1993         Co-initiator and participant in the European EUREKA research program
                           LASFLEUR (EU 380)

1997 – 2000         Coordinator of the EU-research program QAAFFI



  • American Society of Plant Physiologists (ASPB): 1962- 2003, Correspond. Member, since 2010
  • Federation of European Plant Physiologists (FESPP), since 1978,
  • German Botanical Society (DGB), since 1964,
  • Section Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology of DBG, since 1974,
  • Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM): 1965-2005,
  • International Society of Photosynthesis Research, since its foundation 1995,
  • International Carotenoid Society, since 1986,
  • Society of German Naturforscher and Ärzte: 1965-2005,
  • Study Group (Arbeitskreis) Phythopharmacology of the German Phytomedical Society, 1975 – 2001
  • Deutscher Hochschulverband, since 1968,
  • Ambassador Club, Karlsruhe, since 1998 (President 2001 and 2002)



Editorial Board of scientific journals:

Photosynthesis Research (1980-1990); Physiologia Plantarum (1978-1994);

Botanica Acta (1988-1996); Tree Physiology (Editorial Review Board 1994-2002)

Plant Physiology and Biochemistry (PPB): Associate Editor (1997-2005);

Photosynthetica (1991-2005); Journal of Plant Physiology (1985-2014) and Book Review

Editor (19i90 – 2002); Editor of the Brochure:  Karlsruher Beiträge zur Pflanzenphysiologie (Karlsruhe Contributions to Plant Physiology), 39 volumes, since 1976.



Lipids and Lipid Polymers in Higher Plants, Springer Verlag, Berlin 1977 (editor, together with M. Tevini).

Praktikum der Photosynthese, Quelle & Meyer Verlag, Heidelberg 1978 (author, together with K. Pfister).

Das Waldsterben aus botanischer Sicht, G. Braun Verlag, Karlsruhe, 1984 (author, together with C. Buschmann).

Applications of Chlorophyll Fluorescence (in photosynthesis research, stress physiology, hydrobiology and remote sensing), Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht 1988 (editor).

Vegetation Stress, G. Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart 1996 (editor).

The Chloroplast: Basics and Applications. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 2010. (edited by C.A. Rebeiz et al.; H.K. Lichtenthaler, co-editor)

Teaching subjects: Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, Ecophysiology, Biophysics of Plants



Research topics and main achievements in:


      A. Physiology and Biochemistry of Photosynthesis

             1) Ultrastructure and Adaptation of Chloroplasts: Plastoglobuli function, Sun- and shade

                 chloroplasts, Thylakoid stacking.

             2) Light-induced Biosynthesis of the Photosynthetic Apparatus, including prenylquinone

                 and carotenoid distribution between the two photosynthetic pigment systems

             3) Pigment Composition of Chlorophyll-Carotinoid Protein-Complexes of photosynthetic

                     biomembranes (CPI, CPIa, CPa, LHCPs).

             4) Evaluation of the non-mevalonate DOXP/MEP Pathway of Isoprenoid Biosynthesis

                  in Chloroplasts (in cooperation with Michel Rohmer, Strasbourg).

                  - Biosynthesis of Chlorophylls, Carotenoids, Prenylquinones, Isoprene, Sterols, Saponines, etc.

                  - Distribution of the DOXP/MEP pathway in Photosynthetic Organisms, Eubacteria and 

                   the malaria parasite Plasmodium.

             5) Plants as Test-System for new Drugs against Malaria and Pathogenic Bacteria

                        (Inhibitors of the DOXP/MEP pathway)

             6) Mode of Action of Herbicides and Antibiotics, active in Chloroplasts

                    - Inhibitors of Photosynthesis [Bentazon, Diuron, Naphthoquinones]

                    - Chlorose-inducing Herbicides [Amitrol, SAN 6706 etc.]

                    - Inhibitors of Isoprenoid-Biosynthesis [Mevinolin ® HMG-CoA Reduktase;

                         5-Ketoclomazone ® DOXP Synthase;  Fosmidomycin ®  DOXP-Reductase ]

                    - Inhibitors of de novo Fatty Acid Biosynthesis in Chloroplasts, i.e. inhibitors of Acetyl-CoA 

                       Carboxylase (ACC), Acetyl-CoA Synthetase (ACS), Pyruvate Dehydrogenase

                       Complex (pPDHC), Fatty Acid Synthetase (FAS). [Compounds: Cycloxydim, Diclofop,

                         Alkyl-adenylates, Acetylmethyl phosphinate, Cerulenin]


       B. Stress Physiology and Fluorescence Spectroscopy of Plants

              7) Forest Decline Research and Stress Physiology of Plants

              8) Red Chlorophyll Fluorescence, Blue and Green Fluorescence Signatures of Leaves

                9) Remote sensing of Vegetation Damage by passive Reflectance and active Laser-induced

                      Chlorophyll Fluorescence (EUREKA Project LASFLEUR EU 380)

            10) Fluorescence Imaging of Plants and Fruits including analysis of phenolics and pigments

                     (EU-Research Programs QAAFFI and INTERREG II)



Organization of Scientific Meetings:


1976          2nd International Symposium on Plant Lipids (ISPL) "Lipids and Lipid-Polymers in Higher Plants", July 1976 at the University of Karlsruhe.


1981        International OECD Meeting: “Photosynthesis and Biological Solar Energy Conversion”, October 11 – 14, Palace Ettlingen, Germany (together with Helmut Metzner, Tübingen)


1984          European Symposium: "Wirkung von Imissionen auf Waldbäume und Pflanzen" (Effects of Immissions on Forest Trees and Plants), November 1984, Bad Honnef, Germany (with support of the W. + E. Heraeus Foundation, Hanau, Germany)


1988          International Symposium: "Applications of Chlorophyll Fluorescence", June 1988, Bad Honnef, Germany (with support of the W. + E. Heraeus Foundation, Hanau, Germany)


1988          5th Congress of FESPP (Federation of European Societies of Plant Physiology), August 31 - September 4, 1986, Hamburg, Germany (as FESPP President).



1995          International Conference on Vegetation Stress, June 18 to 21, 1995 in Munich/Neuherberg in cooperation with NASA/Greenbelt, USA and GSF (Gesellschaft for Strahlenforschung), Munich


1997       International Workshop "Plant Stress Detection by Reflectance and Fluorescence" within
              the international Hans Selye Congress "Stress of Life", July 1 - 5, 1997 in Budapest



Organization of Workshops:


1980          1st Photosynthesis Workshop (for Diplomands and Ph.D. Students (Doctorands) of four South-German Universities), January 18, 1980, Karlsruhe


1984          5th Photosynthesis Workshop (for Diplomands and Ph.D. Students (Doctorands) of five South-German Universities), October 8 and 9, 1984, Karlsruhe


1989          Rhein-Mainisches Botanikerkolloquium (for Diploma and PhD Students of 8 German Universities), February 1989 at the University of Karlsruhe.


1990          FESPP Photosynthesis Workshop, November 21 and 22, 1990, University of Karlsruhe


1992          12th Workshop Phytopharmacology of the German Phytomedical Society, February 24 and 25, 1992, University of Karlsruhe


1993          9th Workshop on Plant Lipids, September 1993, University of Karlsruhe


1997          Rhein-Mainisches Botanikerkolloquium (for Diploma and PhD Students of 8 German Universities), February 1997 at the University of Karlsruhe (together with M. Weisenseel).


1999        16th Photosynthesis Workshop (for Diplomands and Ph.D. Students (Doctorands) of seven South-German Universities), October 6, 1999, University of Karlsruhe


2001          21th Workshop Phytopharmacology of the German Phytomedical Society, February 20 and 21, 1992, University of Karlsruhe


2004          21th Photosynthesis Workshop (for Diplomands and Ph.D. Students (Doctorands) of seven South-German Universities), University of Karlsruhe (together with Claus Buschmann)



General Scientific Activities

  • Participation in various international scientific meetings as chairman and organizer of special sessions about plant lipid metabolism, mode of action of herbicides, laser-induced chlorophyll fluorescence, reflectance spectra, function of the photosynthetic apparatus, stress detection and  remote sensing of terrestrial vegetation, as well as  chloroplast isoprenoid biosynthesis.
  • Development of several Fluorescence Instruments and Spectrometers for the measurement of chlorophyll-fluorescence-inductions kinetics (Kautsky Effect) and an Instrument for Fluorescence Imaging of Plants (Blue and green fluorescence, red and far-red chlorophyll fluorescence).
  • Active participation in international scientific programs (OECD, NASA, EUREKA-LASFLEUR, QAAFFI, INTERREG II, ESA-FLEX).
  • Promotion of scientific cooperation and exchange of scientists within Europe, with colleagues of USA, and several other countries on photosynthesis, plant lipids, chlorophyll fluorescence,  fluorescence spectroscopy of plants as well as stress physiology, remote sensing and fluorescence imaging of plants. Integration of scientists of East European countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Russia) into the Federation of European Societies of Plant Physiology FESPP (now FESPB), with official membership since 1988 in Split. Worldwide promotion of the ties between colleagues working on plant lipids, in spectroscopy, chlorophyll fluorescence and biophysics of plants as well as stress physiology and remote sensing (fluorescence imaging) of plants.
  • Scientific co-operation: a) with Hungarian Institutes of TU Budapest (Prof. Peter Richter, Doz. Dr. Lazslo Koczany), of the Eötvös University (ELTE) Budapest (Profs. Ferenc Lang and Zoltan Szigeti) and from 1980 -2009 with Szent Istvan University Gödöllö (Prof. Zoltan Tuba), b) with Czech Institutes for Photosynthesis of the Academy of Sciences and University of Prague (Dr. Zdenek Sestak), with University of Budweis (Ceske Budejovice) (Prof. Jiri Santrucek, Dr. Pavel Siffel) as well as the Institute of Plant Physiology of the Mendel-Universität Brno (Prof. Stanislav Prochazka) since the mid 1970s and beginning 1980s.
  • Close scientific co-operation with Prof. Michel Rohmer (Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg) on the Biosynthesis of Plant Isoprenoids in Plastids (Detection of the DOXP/MEP-Pathway of IPP biosynthesis in chloroplasts) 1993-2001, and with Dr. Joseph Miehé, GOA, CNRS, Strasbourg, on Fluorescence-Imaging of Plants, 1992-2001.
  • Continuous scientific exchange with many American colleagues, such as the professors: Andrew A. Benson, Bob Buchanan, Melvin Calvin, Govindjee, Tasso Melis, John Ohlrogge, Tino A. Rebeiz, Barry Rock, Tom Sharkey


Languages:               German, English, French


Publications:        420 publications (original papers, reviews) in international scientific journals and books.


Direction of:         37 State Diploma Theses (1971-2001)

                            45 Diploma (Master) Theses (1983-2001)

                            38 Ph.D. Theses (1968-2003)

                            5 Habilitations of scientific co-workers