Announcement of 2009 Outstanding Scientist Awards

Prof. Aran Patanothai and Prof. Saichol Ketsa have been named 2009 Outstanding Scientists by the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King.

Dr. Aran Patanothai is Professor of Faculty of Agriculture of Khan Kaen University (KKU). He began his work in agricultural systems research in 1975 with the Cropping System Project funded by the Ford Foundation. Later, he led the crop section and also was the assistant leader of the subsequent Farming Systems Research Project funded by USAID. In the area of plant breeding, Prof. Aran initially worked on sorghum. He later switched to peanut breeding, and organized researchers from the Department of Agriculture, Kasetsart University and KKU to form the Thailand Coordinated Peanut Improvement Program with the financial supports from IDRC and the Peanut Collaborative Research Support Program (Peanut CRSP) of the USAID from 1980-1986, but the work still continued afterwards with other sources of funding including The Thailand Research Fund (TRF) for the work at KKU. The important outputs of his breeding work during that period were the peanut cultivars Khon Kaen 60-1 and Khon Kaen 60-3. Prof. Aran was named the TRF Senior Research Scholar for three consecutive periods. Under this project, he and his research team have been conducting basic research to support the development of new improved peanut cultivars. Studies were conducted to support the breeding for resistance to peanut bud necrosis virus (PBNV), a new peanut disease in Thailand. The project has also embarked on the area of drought resistance holistically. Another area of research in which Dr. Aran has been pioneering is the use of a crop simulation model in plant breeding. The research findings have also been utilized in the peanut breeding work which has been going on concurrently. New peanut cultivars released during this period are KKU-1, KKU 72-1. KKU 72-2 and KKU 60, the latter is a large-seeded cultivar with early maturity and bunch plant-type. New peanut lines that are resistant to peanut bud necrosis and drought resistant are now in the advanced stage of yield evaluation. Work is underway on breeding peanut to improve fatty acid ratio for functional food quality of the crop so that the products will be of higher value. For more information of the achievements of Prof. Aran Patanothai, please click here.

Dr. Saichol Ketsa is Professor of Department of Horticulture of Kasetsart University (KU). He has conducted postharvest physiology of the economically most important horticultural commodities of Thailand. His research has focused on physiological and biochemical processes leading to quality loss after harvest. Key enzymes and genes regulating these processes have been identified. His basic research produced a better understanding of the processes involved, and how to improve postharvest quality, thus how to reduce postharvest losses. His findings help exporters in Thailand to improve the postharvest quality of fresh produce upon arrival at overseas markets. He has published numerous papers in international refereed journals and also authored a number of chapters in textbooks published overseas. He was invited to join Professor Dr. R.E. Paull at the University of Hawaii, USA, to write five chapters, together with other scientists around the world, in order to revise “The Commercial Storage of Fruit, Vegetables and Florist and Nursery Stocks”, USDA Agriculture Handbook No. 66 (Third edition). This handbook is well-known and has been used widely by laymen, students and scientists in postharvest technology of horticultural commodities around the world. For more information of the achievements of Prof. Saichol Ketsa, please click here.

In conjunction with Outstanding Scientists, the Foundation also announced three Young Scientist Awards, which went to Assist. Prof. Thammanoon Sreeethawong (Chulalongkorn University), Assist. Prof. Amornchai Arpornwichano (Chulalongkorn University), and Assist. Prof. Surat Laphookhieo (Mae Fah Luang University).

Source: the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King.


2009 Outstanding Scientists from left to right, Prof. Aran Patanothai and Prof. Saichol Ketsa.


Dr. Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich (seventh from left), Minister of Science and Technology takes a group photo with the committees of The Thai Academy of Science and Technology (TAST) and award recipients.


Posted on 25 August 2009.