The Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality is the Open Access journal of the German Society for Quality Research on Plant Foods and the Section Applied Botany of the German Society for Plant Sciences (DBG). It provides a platform for scientists to disseminate recent results of applied plant research in plant physiology and plant ecology, plant biotechnology, plant breeding and cultivation, phytomedicine, plant nutrition, plant stress and resistance, plant microbiology, plant analysis (including -omics techniques), and plant food chemistry. The articles have a clear focus on botanical and plant quality aspects and contain new and innovative information based on state-of-the-art methodologies.

 The editorial team dedicates a special section to Reinhard Lieberei, long-term member of the Section Applied Botany (former Vereinigung für Angewandte Botanik e.V.) and former Editor-in-Chief of the the Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality. See below for the list of contributions by his former students and colleagues.

In memoriam Reinhard Lieberei by Dirk Selmar

Image: Prof. Dr. Reinhard Lieberei

On March 5th 2019 Professor Reinhard Lieberei, one of the leading scientists in the field of Applied Botany, passed away in Gorleben at the age of 70. His outstanding research was always characterized by the aspiration to implement results derived from basic scientific studies into practice. In this manner, he worked on a wide array of plant biological topics very successfully. Already in very early phases of his scientific career, he exhibited a deep affection towards the various ecological aspects. As a scientist trained in plant physiology and biochemistry, he always used his profound knowledge on metabolic coherences in combination with ecological requirements to elaborate novel concepts, which could be implemented into practice. This trait − in combination with his passion for the tropics − somehow predetermined his scientific work.Accordingly, his phytopathological research did not deal with classical, mainstream studies on wheat or potatoes, but was focussed on the South American Leaf Blight of the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis caused by the ascomycete Microcyclus ulei. In the course of this very successful research, he re-discovered the strong cyanogenicity of H. brasiliensis. Actually, this cognition was the basis to establish a quite novel field of research, i.e., the metabolism of cyanogenic glucosides. By employing novel and unorthodox plant physiological approaches, the various aspects of translocation of cyanogenic glucosides had been studied. As highlight of this innovative research, the linustatin pathway was elucidated. Furthermore, Reinhard Lieberei verified that the injury induced liberation of HCN from the host plant Hevea in the course of host-pathogen-interactions does hamper the plants much than the pathogens. These coherences initiated a paradigmic change in ecological biochemistry.The second tropical crop plant Reinhard Lieberei was devoted to is cocoa. By pursuing the research of his mentor, Böle Biehl, on the cocoa fermentation, he further elucidated the underlying physiological coherences and intrinsic metabolic processes, and became a well known and renowned specialist for cocoa fermentation. In this context, together with his former students Christina Rohsius and Silke Elwers, he published and actualized the “Kakao-Atlas”, a standard treatise for all people working within the cocoa business. A further facet of Reinhard Lieberei’s research is related to plant tissue and organ culture. In this field, he examined the basic physiological and biochemical aspects to optimize related applications, such as mass propagation of various ornamental and medicinal plants. Although most of his scientific work was mainly established in the field of Applied Botany, Reinhard Lieberei’s research exhibited very strong relations to basic science, especially to the interface between plant physiology, biochemistry and ecology. His contributions to these interdisciplinary research fields were based on his comprehensive knowledge and experience in each branch of plant biology. In this regard, Reinhard Lieberei was one of the last and rare polymaths in modern plant biology. The broad scientific oeuvre of Reinhard Lieberei and his important achievements become obvious, when reading the various articles by his scientific scholars and companions, compiled and displayed in this special section.

Contributions to the special section:

Opinion: The accustomed inconsistency in biochemical ecology – Enhanced knowledge of the evolution and function of natural products frequently implies teleological misinterpretations
by Dirk Selmar

Histological and cytological comparison of seed structures of Theobroma cacao, T. grandiflorum and T. bicolor relevant to post-harvest processing and product quality
by Silke Elwers, Reinhard Lieberei

Protein content and glucosinolates from Moringa oleifera Lam. – New insights into an auspicious commodity
by Laura Lewerenz, Heinrich Heinrichs, Johann Hornbacher, Jutta Papenbrock, Binh Nguyen-Thanh, Dirk Selmar

Besides variety, also season and ripening stage have a major influence on fruit pulp aroma of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.)
by Elsa Hegmann, Wiebke Niether, Christina Rohsius, Wilbert Phillips and Reinhard Lieberei

Reinhard Lieberei − Die Gabe, vernetzt zu denken
by Petra Schwarz

Directed Inoculum Production of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi – the state of the art
by Falko Feldmann and Carolin Schneider

The biochemistry of cocoa flavor - A holistic analysis of its development along the processing chain
by Daniel Kadow