Obituary Dr. Marco Quadranti

Marco Quadranti passed away on 11 July 2023 after a serious illness.  Marco was born on December 16, 1945, and was of Swiss nationality. He gained profound practical experience in agriculture for several years before studying agriculture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ), Zurich. Straight after he did his PhD on Variability of Echinochloa crus-galli with the University of Hohenheim, and joined Ciba-Geigy company, later Novartis, and Syngenta, in 1973. There he held various positions in Research and Development and was responsible – in chronological order – for the development of herbicide safeners, the field development of rice herbicides which took him to all major rice producing countries in the world, the screening of herbicides, then he became head of Research of Biology which included herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and plant promotors, and finally he got to manage  the transfer of the whole Weed Control Unit from Stein, Switzerland to Jealott’s Hill, Great Britain.

During his time with the company, he was the driving force behind the discovery and commercialisation of quite a number of herbicides which had global success in most relevant crops worldwide. He always had a keen eye for new developments in weed management in a sustainable crop production. Here he profited by his comprehensive agricultural experience. He was strongly committed to the collaboration with universities and research institutions to try out and develop new ideas for weed management. One of them was the use of cover crops for an integrated weed management and prevention of soil erosion.

He was a strong supporter of international cooperation and exchange of ideas to advance weed science and above all to promote students and young weed scientists. He was a member of several national weed science societies and was strongly involved in organising conferences and symposia. In 2016, he received the Outstanding International Achievement Award from the International Weed Science Society (IWSS) at the IWSS Congress in Prague for his international engagement.

Marco was President of EWRS from 2006 to 2007 and a member of the Board for six years. Under his presidency, EWRS developed very well and benefited from his technical and international experience. He expanded the range of working groups with a stronger focus on semi-arid regions and intensified cooperation with Eastern and Southern European countries. With his extensive international connections, he made a significant contribution to EWRS gaining greater recognition outside Europe. The success of his work at EWRS was due not only to his expertise, but above all to his ability to communicate with colleagues and present problems clearly and with a fine sense of humour.  And he was open to compromise when discussions reached a dead end, without losing sight of the goal.

He retired in 2006 but continued to work as weed science consultant for Syngenta and as senior consultant for agronomical aspects at the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.

We will all remember him not only as a leading weed scientist, but also as a good colleague who always had a friendly smile on his lips, who was straightforward in his views, but also open to the views of others and open to the future, whatever may come. 

When one of his former colleagues shared the sad news with me, he brought it to the point when he said: Marco was truly a unique person. Yes, he was indeed!

Karl Hurle
Former EWRS president