Ramon Barba: Biography, Contributions & Inventions

Instructor: Meredith Fontana
Ramon Barba is a man who made the life changing discovery of flower induction and applied this (and other findings) towards improving the quality of life for those in the agriculture industry. Dr. Barba represents what it means to serve mankind and use your talents for good.

Introduction to Ramon Barba

Ramon Barba
Ramon Barba

Ramon Barba, a world renowned scientist known for his invention of flower induction of mango trees (among other great discoveries), is a perfect example of being able to apply one's interests and knowledge towards bettering opportunities for others. The impact and importance of his discoveries, along with his self motivation to help others, led him to change how mangoes and other crops are grown around the world, thus improving the livelihood for those who work in the agriculture industry.

Ramon Barba the Student

Ramon Barba, the youngest of four children, was born on August 31, 1939, in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. His father was an attorney and his grandfather was an official of the Bureau of Plants and Industry. As a student, Mr. Barba earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) before attaining a Master's Degree of Science in Horticulture from the University of Georgia (UGA). While at UGA, he studied flowering of plants using potassium nitrate as his variable. Barba turned his attention to studying the fruiting rate through his independent research while working at UPLB. Soon after graduating from UGA, Ramon attended and earned a Doctorate in Plant Physiology from the University of Hawaii (UH). His focus of tropical plants and culturing of plant tissue while at UH would later be applied towards other significant discoveries and applications.

Flower Induction

Mango Tree
Mango tree

Although Ramon Barba made several beneficial discoveries that were used to improve the production and growth of plants and their fruit, perhaps the first and most important was flower induction of mango trees. Based on a study from another researcher named Leopold on the use of ethephon and the increased flowering of plants, Barba thought to apply the food preservative and fertilizer potassium nitrate with the ethrel, thinking that this mixture would increase the flowering rate of the mango trees. He discovered that the flowering rate not only increased, but it also led to the tree producing fruit at a much faster rate.

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