Gerhard Fischbeck

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Gerhard Fischbeck (2005)

Gerhard Fischbeck (born August 26, 1925 in Wieglitz near Calvörde ) is a German plant cultivation and plant breeding scientist . From 1964 to 1993 he taught at the Technical University of Munich in Weihenstephan .

His main focus was on the characterization of variety-specific elements in the development of grain production in Germany as well as the genetically based expansion of the basics for resistance breeding , especially against powdery mildew in barley and wheat . Through committed interdisciplinary activities in scientific organizations and specialist societies, he played a decisive role in the development of crop research in Germany.

Professional background

Gerhard Fischbeck, son of a (elementary) school teacher, attended secondary schools in Gardelegen and Feldafing from 1936 to 1943 . After military service and captivity , he began a two-year agricultural apprenticeship in Etzenricht (Upper Palatinate) in 1945 . At the same time, he obtained the university entrance qualification in a special course for combatants . From 1947 he studied agriculture at the Technical University of Munich in Weihenstephan . In 1950 he passed the examination to become a qualified farmer with distinction. This was followed by a one-year supplementary study in the subjects of plant breeding and plant pathology at the University of Minnesota (USA). Here earned the academic title Master of Science in 1951 .

After returning from the USA, Fischbeck worked as a research assistant in the Institute for Arable and Crop Production at the Technical University of Munich in Weihenstephan, which was headed by Gustav Aufhammer . In 1954, under the aegis of Aufhammer, he was promoted to Dr. agr. is doing his doctorate with a dissertation on environmental influences on growth, yield and quality of brewing barley varieties . In the following years Fischbeck worked as a research assistant, temporarily as a curator , at this institute.

In 1961 he completed his habilitation with a thesis on the plant cultivation and plant breeding problems of the raw protein content of spring barley and received the Venia legendi for the fields of plant cultivation and plant breeding . In 1964 he was appointed full professor to the chair for special crop production and plant breeding at the University of Bonn.

In 1969, Fischbeck accepted a call from the Technical University of Munich and, as a full professor and successor to his teacher Gustav Aufhammer at the Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture in Weihenstephan, took over the Chair of Plant Cultivation and Plant Breeding, which was renamed at the same time. From 1972 to 1974 he held the office of dean of this faculty and from 1976 to 1979 he was the representative of the President of the Technical University of Munich for the Weihenstephan location. In 1993 he retired .

Research and Teaching

Fischbeck's scientific life's work is characterized by diversity and interdisciplinarity . The leitmotif of his thoughts and actions was the knowledge, research and teaching of the agricultural science-oriented plant disciplines (plant cultivation, plant breeding, phytomedicine ) to bring together more strongly than before in a comprehensive integrated subject of crop research .

The interactions between cultivation methods and cultivar performance in cereals in terms of their importance for yield and quality, which Fischbeck dealt with early on in his dissertation (1954) and his habilitation thesis (1961), were for a long time one of his main research interests. Furthermore, he devoted himself to methodical questions on the quantification of characteristics of the brewing quality in barley and the baking quality in wheat, as well as opening up new perspectives for the use of gene reserves for plant breeding.

Fischbeck's experiments on the genetic basis of resistance breeding developed into a major focus of work, especially using the example of the harmful fungus powdery mildew , triggered by studies on the genetic differentiation and distribution of powdery mildew resistance in natural populations of wild barley in Israel. As early as 1975 he was working on damage thresholds in case of powdery mildew. This research area merged seamlessly into the area of genomics . Genomic research began at his chair with the development of the first molecular gene map for barley. Under his aegis, new varieties, equipped with previously unused genes for powdery mildew resistance, were prepared for use in breeding.

The first field trials on the question of the biological safety of genetically modified plants ( maize and rape ) have been carried out under Fischbeck's direction since 1993 at the Rogenstein test station belonging to the Technical University of Munich. Fischbeck is one of the proponents of the use of green genetic engineering in agriculture.

The list of publications fish Becks approx includes 250 publications, including several review articles in textbooks and handbooks . His most important book publication is the book Getreide , which he wrote together with Gustav Aufhammer in 1973 . Production technology and recycling , a classic in German-language specialist literature on grain cultivation. For over three decades, the textbook Special Plant Cultivation (first edition 1975) , which was developed together with specialist colleagues, was required reading for students of agricultural sciences in the Federal Republic of Germany. Fischbeck is a co-author of the practice-oriented book Getreidebau aktuell , of which seven editions were published between 1975 and 1983. Finally, his contribution Biology and Physiological Basics of Plant Production, published in the Handbuch des Pflanzenbau (Volume 1, 1997), deserves special mention .

Fischbeck published several overview contributions on the theory and practice of plant breeding in the textbook on breeding agricultural crops (Volume 2, 1985). His comprehensive description of the goals and methods of resistance breeding in the book Plant Production in Change (1990) is considered exemplary in specialist circles . He enriched the history of science in the agricultural sector with his contribution to the guiding principles of agricultural plant breeding in Germany 1910–1985 (1987).

As a university professor, Fischbeck led 69 doctoral students (six of them in Bonn) to doctorate; four of his students completed their habilitation.

Activity in scientific organizations

Fischbeck has the rare ability to stimulate interdisciplinary scientific discussions, to get to the heart of the matter through his balanced judgment and to often point out simple solutions to difficult problems. Like hardly any other specialist colleague from the agricultural sector, he was therefore a valued member of committees, commissions and specialist societies. Many of these scientific organizations elected him their chairman. His main areas of activity were:

  • Working group for disease control and resistance breeding (since 1955, temporarily chairman)
  • Society for Crop Science (since 1958, first chairman 1976 to 1978)
  • German Agricultural Society (since 1958, member of the main committee from 1975 to 1990).
  • German Research Foundation (expert reviewer and activity in various committees, 1966 to 1990)
  • Board of Trustees of the Research Institute for Agriculture (FAL), Braunschweig (1966 to 1990)
  • Society for Genetics (since 1979)
  • Umbrella organization for agricultural research (President 1978 to 1984; Board member 1989)
  • Working group for tropical and subtropical agricultural research (1978 to 1998)
  • Board of Trustees of the Max Planck Institute for Breeding Research, Cologne-Vogelsang (1978 to 1996, temporarily chairman).
  • International Board of Plant Genetic Resources, Rome (1981 to 1987)
  • Commission for the assessment of institutes of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences of the GDR (1990 to 1991)
  • Society for Plant Breeding (member since foundation 1991)
  • Founding committee of the Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) Gatersleben (Chairman 1991 to 1992)
  • Genebank Advisory Board of the IPK Gatersleben (Chairman 1993 to 2000)

honors and awards

Main publications

  • Studies over several years on the influence of different environmental conditions on growth, yield and quality of several brewing barley varieties . Diss. Agr. Techn. University of Munich 1954. Typescript.
  • Contributions to the plant cultivation and breeding problems of the raw protein content of spring barley . Habil.-Schr. Technical University of Munich 1961. Typescript. - Excerpt from: Zeitschrift für Acker- und Pflanzenbau Vol. 118, 1963/64, pp. 321–344.
  • Grain. Production technology and utilization (with Gustav Aufhammer). DLG-Verlag Frankfurt (Main) 1973.
  • Special crop production (with Klaus-Ulrich Heyland and Norbert Knauer). Ulmer, Stuttgart 1975 = UTB Taschenbuch Nr. 111. - 2nd edition, new edit. u. supplemented edition ibid. 1982; 3. rework. u. supplementary edition (with Wulf Diepenbrock ...) ibid. 1999.
  • Grain production currently. Crop rotation and fertilization, tillage and sowing technology, choice of species and varieties, plant protection . (J. Debruck, G. Fischbeck and W. Kampe). DLG-Verlag Frankfurt (Main) 1975; 2nd edition 1976; 3rd edition 1977; 4th edition 1978; 5. u. 6 edition 1980; 7th edition 1983.
  • Grain. Reproductive biology, general breeding methodology and other contributions . In: Textbook of the breeding of agricultural crops. Edited by W. Hoffmann, A. Mudra and W. Plarre. 2nd ed., Vol. 2, Parey, Berlin 1985.
  • Guiding principles of agricultural plant breeding in Germany 1910–1985 . In: Plant Breeding in Germany. Published by the Federal Association of German Plant Breeders , Mann-Verlag, Gelsenkirchen 1987, pp. 25–49.
  • Goals and ways of breeding resistance . In: Changing Plant Production. New Aspects in Agricultural Sciences. Edited by G. Haug, G. Schuhmann and G. Fischbeck. VCH, Weinheim 1990, pp. 73-102; 2nd edition, ibid. 1992.
  • Gene management . In: Resistance of Crop Plants against Fungi. Edited by H. Hartleb, R. Heitefuss and H. Hoppe. Fischer, Jena 1997, pp. 349-377.
  • Biology and physiological basics of plant production . In: Handbuch des Pflanzenbaues. Edited by Ernst Robert Keller, Herbert Hanus and Klaus-Ulrich Hyland. Ulmer, Stuttgart. Vol. 1: Fundamentals of agricultural crop production, 1997, pp. 111-170.
  • Agricultural crop production and biodiversity . In: Biologie in our Zeit Vol. 29, 1999, pp. 177-183.
  • Lines of development in crop production . In: Society for Crop Science 1956–2006. Festschrift for the 50th anniversary. Published by Harry Knittel on behalf of the Board of Directors. Englram & Partner, Haßloch 2007, pp. 143–155.


  • Günther Bachthaler : Prof. Fischbeck 60 years . In: Zeitschrift für Acker- und Pflanzenbau Vol. 155, 1985, pp. 215-216.
  • G. Röbbelen: The Society for Plant Breeding e. V. appoints Prof. Dr. Dr.hc Gerhard Fischbeck as honorary member ... In: Circular letter of the Society for Plant Breeding No. 4, March 1993.
  • Prof. Dr. Dr.hc Gerhard Fischbeck honorary member . In: News of the Society for Crop Science, January 1996, Issue No. 1, p. 2.
  • Helmut Gäde : Gerhard Fischbeck . In: The Gatersleben Cultivated Plant Bank - History and Development. Gerig-Verlag Quedlinburg 1998, pp. 81-83.
  • G. Röbbelen: Gerhard Fischbeck, Professor of Plant Cultivation and Plant Breeding . In: Biographical lexicon on the history of plant breeding. Edited by Gerhard Röbbelen, 2nd episode; Liddy Halm, Göttingen = lectures for plant breeding H. 55, 2002, pp. 74-77 (with list of publications and picture).

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