The 2007 Philippe Duchaufour Medal is awarded to Alina Kabata-Pendias for her outstanding research in the field of soil science, with special emphasis on trace element geochemistry.
Professor Alina Kabata-Pendias was born in 1929 in Poland. She obtained a PhD degree in Soil Science at the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation in Pulawy, and a DSc degree at the Agricultural University of Lublin. From 1974 till her retirement in 1993 she was professor of soil science at the institute in Pulawy. Prof. Kabata-Pendias has been internationally recognized and highly respected for her achievements in the field of trace elements in terrestrial environments and soil protection. She has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of the behaviour of trace metals in the rock-soil-plant chain, and has demonstrated the impact of soil minerals, especially clay minerals, on the phytoavailability of cobalt and other heavy metals. The more significant contributions of her research may be summarized as follows:
- Effect of hypergenic processes on the distribution of trace metals among soil minerals,
- Calculation of an index of weathering of parent rocks,
- Modification of the method for soil solution extraction,
- Relationships between trace elements in soil solution and their contents in plants,
- Impact of soil chemical properties on the distribution and forms of trace elements in soils,
- Method for the calculation of background contents of trace elements in soils,
- Calculation of the threshold contents and maximum allowable loads of trace metals in agricultural soils (accepted as guidelines for agriculture),
- Adaptation of phytoindicator methods for the assessment of soil contamination with trace metals.
Throughout the 50 years of her scientific activity, Professor Kabata-Pendias published over 300 articles in journals and symposium proceedings, book chapters and books. She is a main author of well known handbooks edited in Polish, English and Russian: Trace Elements in Biological Environment (1979), Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements (1993, 1999) and Trace Elements in Soils and Plants (1984, 1989, 1992, 2001). Although she retired from the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation in Pulawy, Poland, in 1993, she is still active and involved in many research projects and scientific activities. The impact of Professor Kabata-Pendias on soil research, teaching, and service is based on her cordial and decent personality, still provoking enthusiasm for soil science in many students and colleagues.