The 2012 Philippe Duchaufour Medal is awarded to José Torrent for his contribution on the mineralogy of iron oxides and the iron and phosphorus biogeochemical cycle in the soil-plant system.
José Torrent was born in Barcelona (Spain) in 1945. He has spent his life as professor of Soil Science in the University of Córdoba. His long career as researcher has been mainly focussed on the mineralogy of iron oxides, and the iron and phosphorus biogeochemical cycle in the soil-plant system. These studies have been performed with soils from many areas of the World (USA, Brazil, China, Syria), but particularly from European Mediterranean countries (Spain and Italy). His contributions in the field of soil mineralogy, soil chemistry, and soil fertility are of great scientific relevance as it can be concluded from the number of citations that received many of his papers and the number of researchers that worked with him. Some of Torrent’s research has helped to explain main factors affecting iron and phosphate dynamics in soils of Mediterranean environments, in particular in calcareous soil, and produced advances in scientific knowledge and a theoretical support to people working in agriculture. In fact, his studies contributed to understand the efficiency of applied iron or phosphate fertilizer, to develop new low-cost efficient fertilizers (5 patents of invent), and to produce accurate methods to estimate available phosphorus and iron to plants in soils. His contributions about processes controlling oxides formation in soils and in Mars surface are of great interest. In 35 years devoted to soil science research Torrent has published more than 145 original papers in 50 peer review journals (SCI) about soil science, geosciences, agronomy, astronomy, etc, 9 book chapters, and 2 books. He has shared his science with colleagues from more than 68 institutions from more than 23 countries. His papers have more than 2,795 citations with a Hirsch-index of 30. This reveals the scientific relevance of his contribution to the knowledge of soils.