Robert B Mellor
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (February 2009)|
Robert Brooke Mellor (b Huddersfield UK) is a British biologist, known for his "unified vacuole theory" which states that in endosymbioses generally, the micro-symbiont and the macro-symbiont share their lytic vacuolar compartments. This stems from his earlier symbiosome (or "lysosome theory") which states that the organelle that microsymbionts inhabit partially takes over the lysosomal functions in these cells, analogous to the role of protein bodies in seeds.
In other works Mellor has claimed that in legumes the root nodule cytoplasm may be under water stress and the plant may combat this by producing trehalose. Indeed this may explain why nodulated plants have a higher drought-tolerance than non-nodulated plants.
Mellor was also very interested in how plants distinguish between symbiotic and pathogenic infections and in 1984 set about measuring defence responses in nodules infected with different Rhizobial mutants and it gradually appeared that in Rhizobia the nod genes are responsible for producing different nod factors (lipo-chitin molecules) and that amongst their many effects was that they can provoke plant defence responses, so that it was essential that these genes were switched off (by molecules called "nodoffs") after infection, or that symbiosis could not take place. This convincing model won general acclaim and indeed the paper with David Collinge was later reprinted as that year’s number one most important publication.
However Mellor was also interested in applied science and invented and a patented system to power immobilized oxido-reductase enzymes and artificial co-factors using electrical power out of a domestic socket.
In early 2000 he joined and helped start-up the IT University of Copenhagen , after which he became Director of Enterprise at Kingston University , London, in Computing, Information Systems and Mathematics. Robert teaches innovation and the mathematical modelling of business processes at MSc level at Kingston University. Robert Brooke Mellor  is author of over 120 scientific publications in reputable journals and ten books, several of which have been translated into other languages. He is an active consultant with over twelve years industrial experience and lectures at postgraduate level on subjects like ‘strategic information systems’, ‘knowledge management’, ‘strategic innovation’ and ‘entrepreneurship’.
- Mellor, R.B.: The nodulation of legumes. (1996). DSR Forlag, Copenhagen. ISBN 87-7432-466-7
- Mellor, R.B.: Bacteroids in the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis inhabit a plant internal lytic compartment: Implications for other microbial endosymbioses. J Exp. Bot., 40, 831-839 (1989)
- Mellor, R.B. (1992): Is trehalose a symbiotic determinant in symbioses between higher plants and micro-organisms? Symbiosis, 12, 113-129
- Farias-Rodrigues, R., R.B. Mellor, C. Arias and J.J. Pena-Cabriales (1998): Trehalose accumulation in several cultivars of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L) and its correlation to drought stress. Physiol. Plant., 102, 353-359.
- Werner, D., R.B. Mellor, M.G. Hahn and H. Grisebach (1985): Soybean root response to symbiotic infection: Glyceollin accumulation in an ineffective type of nodule with an early loss of the peribacteroid membrane. Z. Naturforsch., 40, 171-181.
- Mellor, R.B. and D.B. Collinge (1995): A simple model based on known plant defence reactions is sufficient to explain most aspects of nodulation. J. Exp. Bot., 46, 1-18.
- Mellor, R.B., J. Ronnenberg, W.H. Campbell and S. Diekmann (1992): Reduction of nitrate and nitrite in water by immobilized enzymes. Nature, 355, 717-719