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Foreword

The publication of the first and second editions of Horst Marschners Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants established this book internationally as the leading and most widely cited textbook for graduate students and researchers in plant nutrition. The book demonstrated Horst Marschners comprehensive understanding of the subject and ability to present this knowledge in a clear, logical form to his readers. In view of this great success it was a devastating blow to all that, soon after the appearance of the second edition, Horst Marschner died tragically from cerebral malaria contracted during a visit to Niger to see at first hand the results of field experiments. With his passing in 1996 plant nutrition lost one of its most remarkably gifted scientists of the twentieth century.

Horst Marschner is mostly remembered for his long association with the Institute of Plant Nutrition at the University of Hohenheim, where he found refuge in 1960 after fleeing from communist East Germany. Other than the period during which he was Professor at the Technical University of Berlin (197076), the greater part of his working life was spent at Hohenheim and it was there too that his most important contributions to research were achieved. Under his direction from 1976 to 1996, the institute flourished. Charismatic enthusiasm, devotion to work, and thoughtful leadership assured him of the support and affection of staff and students. Together with eminent colleagues and in particular Dr Volker Rmheld with whom he worked closely for many years, he developed a highly

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Foreword

imaginative research programme covering a wide range of interests in plant nutrition from the plant cell to the field which attracted visiting research scientists from all over the world. During those years it was always a pleasure to visit my old friend Horst Marschner in Hohenheim. A visit there was to the hub of research in plant nutrition, and a discussion with Horst was always greatly invigorating, providing many ideas for my own research. Those who had the privilege of working with Horst Marschner will remember with admiration his critical discussion and attention to detail together with his unfailing encouraging support. Undoubtedly he was a great mentor to his students, encouraging them to express their thoughts and stressing the importance of being open to new ideas. Fifteen years on from his death, the enormity of the Marschner legacy to plant nutrition is still very evident. Many of Horst Marschners former post-graduate students are now directing their own teaching and research departments across the world, their number including the current President of the International Council on Plant Nutrition and his three immediate predecessors. The need for a new edition of Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants has been obvious for some time because of the burgeoning flow of new literature and major developments in various aspects of the subject. In discussing the way forward to produce a new edition, Horst Marschners former colleagues and co-workers concluded that in order

to maintain the quality of the second edition, individual chapters should be written by eminent selected authors. As a testament to Horst Marschners outstanding work as teacher, communicator and research scientist in plant nutrition, a new title for the book was chosen, Marschners Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants. Changes in the development of the subject are reflected in the format of the new edition. Part I includes a new chapter on nutrition and quality and Part II divides and extends rhizosphere into two chapters, rhizosphere chemistry and rhizosphere biology. Additionally, a new chapter on nutrient cycling is included. The aim of this third edition is the same as the two previous editions: to provide a comprehensive text on plant nutrition for both graduate students and research workers. Fortunately, Horst Marschners daughter, Dr Petra Marschner, now at the University of Adelaide, Australia, has willingly taken on the onerous task of senior editor of the book. Without her dedication, determination and ability to persuade, cajole as well as control the contributing authors, this masterpiece would not have seen the light of day.

Ernest A. Kirkby
Faculty of Biological Sciences University of Leeds, UK