Otto Appel and his contributions to food quality and safety at the beginning of the 20th century

  • Hartwig Schulz Institute for Ecological Chemistry, Plant Analysis and Stored Product Protection, Julius Kühn-Institute, Berlin, Germany
  • Heike Riegler Information Centre and Library, Julius Kühn-Institut - Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Quedlinburg, Germany


Otto Appel (1867-1952) is best known for his research in the field of phytopathology, in particular for his discoveries on bacterial and fungal diseases of crops such as potato and cereals. His work ranged from fundamental research, like the discovery and description of pathogens and their ways to affect their host plants, to applied research on cultivation practices and storage methods. He published numerous scientific articles as well as practical recommendations for farmers in form of flyers and pocket books with the aim to improve yield and quality and to reduce losses and, thus, securing the supply with plant based food and materials. His commitment to applied research was also reflected in his long-term membership in the board
of the Association for Applied Botany and later on in the awarding of Honorary Presidency of the Association. As director of the Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry in Berlin, he was the key player in setting up an efficient and well-organized plant protection service in Germany.
Otto Appel’s achievements significantly influenced agricultural practices and generally enhanced food quality and safety in Germany and beyond. They are still remembered today, when the Deutsche Phytomedizinische Gesellschaft awards the Otto Appel Medal to outstanding researchers in phytomedicine every two years.

SPECIAL - 100 years Journal of Applied Botany