Crops and Weed Science
Viticulture and Enology
Vegetable Crops and Weed
Spurred by the rapid expansion of California's
vegetable industry, the Division of Olericulture was created at
the University Farm in 1915, making it one of the oldest units on
the campus. It was renamed the Division of Truck Crops in 1922 and
the Department of Vegetable Crops in 1952. In its early years the
faculty consisted of one assistant professor, who mainly trained
students in the two-year program. Under H. A. Jones, appointed the
first chair in 1924, new faculty members began teaching and research
on aspects of physiology and production, genetics and plant breeding,
and post-harvest physiology of vegetable crops. W. W. Robbins served
as chair of both the Division of Botany and of Truck Crops from
1936 to 1940, when the units were separated. Robbins developed the
weed research program and initiated the first courses on weed science
taught in the United States. The Weed Science Program, formerly
associated with botany, joined the vegetable crops department in
From 1940 through 1964, J. E. Knott served as
chair, overseeing a dramatic increase in faculty numbers and student
enrollments. The department moved from its wood-frame building south
of the Quad to new quarters in Hunt Hall in 1949. After World War
II the department again expanded, emphasizing teaching and research
on seed physiology, plant development and growth regulation, soil
and water management, nutrition, and post-harvest physiology.
In 1955 a section of the department was established
at UC Riverside, with O. A. Lorenz as vice chair; this unit consolidated
with the UCR Plant Science department in 1966. Research themes included
crop and soil management, plant breeding and hormonal control mechanisms,
and uses of plant growth regulators in vegetable production. O.
A. Lorenz succeeded J. E. Knott as chair at Davis. In 1965 postharvest
research and teaching were markedly enhanced by the completion of
the Louis K. Mann Post-Harvest Laboratory. During the 1960s graduate
student enrollment increased significantly, and both undergraduate
and graduate programs received worldwide recognition.
J. N. Lyons, former chair at UC Riverside, assumed
leadership of the Davis department in 1970. The mid-1970s through
the mid-1980s brought a high point in undergraduate interest in
the plant sciences, centering on ecology and the environment. The
new plant science major spawned courses in vegetable genetics, breeding,
and physiology. Many faculty members retired during this period.
With leadership from Chair L. Rappaport (1978-1984), the department
redefined its mission, and new faculty appointments reflected new
goals. Emphasis was placed on discipline-oriented studies of nutrient
acquisition by plants, genetics and applications of biotechnology
for crop improvement, associated seed investigations, post-harvest
biology, and marketing management. Research expanded on sustainability
of vital soil and water resources while maintaining high crop productivity.
In 1991 the vegetable crops department moved into
excellent facilities in Asmundson Hall, and the L. K. Mann Laboratory
was renovated. The C. M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center, the
Vegetable Research and Information Center, and the Seed Biotechnology
Center were established in the 1990s. Research focused on genomics
and transgenic manipulation to achieve disease resistance, enhance
product quality, and characterize regulatory mechanisms. UC Cooperative
Extension specialists cooperate closely with faculty in a relatively
seamless relationship that not only extends information to the vegetable
industry but stimulates continuing applied research of benefit to
both industry and consumers. source
This department had its historical roots
deep in the former Division of Bacteriology and Veterinary Sanitary
Science established in 1901, since most of the diseases investigated
by the division were of an infectious nature. It was during this
time that Jacob Traum made his monumental contributions to our knowledge
of tuberculosis, brucellosis, and the vesicular diseases, and W.
H. Boynton demonstrated the natural history of anaplasmosis, pioneered
in tissue culture, and developed a nonvirulent hog cholera vaccine.
It was here that the intradermal test was perfected and proved effective
for the identification of bovine tuberculosis, that the presence
of skin lesions induced by other acid-fast organisms was found to
result in tuberculin sensitivity, and that use of "Strain 19" vaccination
was demonstrated as a worthy and feasible step in brucellosis control.
With the establishment of the School of Veterinary
Medicine in 1948, veterinary microbiology first became an informal
departmental area under the unofficial chairmanship of Delbert G.
McKercher. In 1956, he was succeeded by James R. Douglas, who also
became the chairman when the department became official in 1960.
John W. Osebold became chairman on July 1, 1965. In 1965, there
were six academic staff members.
The department was broadly based, encompassing
bacteriology, virology, parasitology, immunology, and immunogenetics.
Instruction was given to undergraduate veterinary students and to
graduate students in all of these areas. A number of graduate students
were supported by a National Institutes of Health training grant.
This department continued to have a major research
program and has contributed substantially to such diverse problems
as the pathogenesis and chemotherapy of internal parasites, hemophilus
infections of livestock listeriosis, pasteurellosis, anaplasmosis,
myxornatosis of rabbits, and brucellosis; it contributed greatly
to our knowledge of new diseases such as blue tongue in sheep, infectious
bovine rhinotracheitis, bovine virus abortion, and epididymitis
of rams. A major activity was research in immunology, including
the study of blood groups in cattle, horses, poultry, and various
wild species of animals. source
Following a restructuring of the School of Veterinary
Medicine in the early 1970s, Veterinary Microbiology is now part
of the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology. See
also School of Veterinary Medicine.
Viticulture and Enology
On April 15, 1880, the California Legislature
enacted a mandate directing the Regents of the University of California
to establish a program providing for instruction and research in
all aspects of viticulture and enology. Leaders in business and
state government realized that California had the potential to become
one of the world's foremost wine- and grape- producing regions.
They also recognized the ability of the University to turn potential
into reality and the role of a premier research and educational
institution as a critical ingredient in the recipe for economic
success. Today, 120 years later, the California grape and wine industries
are internationally renowned multibilliondollar enterprises, their
success a testament to the partnership forged by state government
between the university and the table grape, raisin, and wine industries
throughout the world.
The current Department of Viticulture and Enology was established
at the Davis campus in 1935, after the repeal of Prohibition. Departmental
founders recognized that quality in the bottle is a result of quality
in the vineyard and resolved to dispense with the tradition that
historically separated the study of viticulture from that of enology.
Today the department uniquely combines the sciences of viticulture
and enology in a single research and teaching unit that encompasses
all the disciplines that impact grape growing and winemaking. The
faculty includes scientists from the fields of chemistry, genetics,
microbiology, chemical engineering, horticulture, biochemistry,
plant physiology, and sensory science. Multidisciplinary and strategic
research and teaching programs cover all major aspects of viticulture
Research in the 1930s and 1940s was aimed at making
grape growing and wine production economically viable for post-Prohibition
agriculturists. Work focused on identifying the appropriate varieties
and clones best suited to California growing conditions and on defining
vineyard practices that would generate sufficient yield to render
grape growing profitable. At the same time, the technology to assure
the production of sound, defect-free wines was developed. These
efforts allowed California vintners to produce commercially acceptable
wines reproducibly year after year.
By the late 1960s research was aimed at expanding knowledge of
the factors that influence grape and wine characters so that wine
making processes could be tailored by individual winemakers to achieve
the desired flavor and aroma profiles in the finished wine. This
allowed the industry to move beyond mere commercial acceptability
to the production of intricately crafted fine wines. Objective methods
of sensory evaluation of wines were developed in the department
and are now widely used throughout the food and beverage industries.
Descriptive analysis of wines has now become a standard procedure
for wine evaluation and has had the added benefit of making wines
less intimidating for the consumer. Marketplace interest in wine
has further increased due to recent research that has identified
various components in wine that might have beneficial human health
For over a century the University of California has maintained
an active program in research and education in viticulture and enology.
The continuing excellence of the department has enabled California
to become a widely regarded premier wine-producing region. source