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

Adress: Botanical Institute II, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Kaiserstr. 12
76128 Karlsruhe
  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. Dr. August Seybold)
1961 Euratom Research Fellow at Centre d'Etudes Nucléaires , Grenoble/France (with Prof. Dr. 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 (with Prof. Hans Reznik)
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 Bande)
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 Oberpfaffenhofen/Germany
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 (1990-2002)
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 Manfred Tevini)
Praktikum der Photosynthese, Quelle & Meyer Verlag, Heidelberg 1978 (Author, together with Klaus Pfister)
Das Waldsterben aus botanischer Sicht, G. Braun Verlag, Karlsruhe, 1984 (Author, together with Claus 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:

  1. Physiology and Biochemistry of Photosynthesis
    • Ultrastructure and Adaptation of Chloroplasts: Plastoglobuli function, Sun- and shade chloroplasts, Thylakoid stacking
    • Light-induced Biosynthesis of the Photosynthetic Apparatus, including prenylquinone and carotenoid distribution between the two photosynthetic pigment systems
    • Pigment Composition of Chlorophyll-Carotinoid Protein-Complexes of photosynthetic biomembranes (CPI, CPIa, CPa, LHCPs)
    • 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
    • Plants as Test-System for new Drugs against Malaria and Pathogenic Bacteria
      (Inhibitors of the DOXP/MEP pathway)
    • 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]
  2. Stress Physiology and Fluorescence Spectroscopy of Plants
    • Forest Decline Research and Stress Physiology of Plants
    • Red Chlorophyll Fluorescence, Blue and Green Fluorescence Signatures of Leaves
    • Remote sensing of Vegetation Damage by passive Reflectance and active Laser-induced Chlorophyll Fluorescence (EUREKA Project LASFLEUR EU 380)
    • 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)
1986 5th Congress of FESPP (Federation of European Societies of Plant Physiology), August 31 - September 4, 1986, Hamburg, Germany (as FESPP President)
1988 International Symposium: "Applications of Chlorophyll Fluorescence", June 1988, Bad Honnef, Germany (with support of the W. + E. Heraeus Foundation, Hanau, Germany)
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:
    • 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)
    • 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: 480 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