Thomas Jonathan Burrill

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Thomas Jonathan Burrill
Thomas Jonathan Burrill.jpg
Born(1839-04-25)April 25, 1839
DiedApril 14, 1916(1916-04-14) (aged 76)
Alma materIllinois State Normal University
Scientific career
FieldsBotany, Plant pathology
InstitutionsUniversity of Illinois

Thomas Jonathan Burrill (April 25, 1839 – April 14, 1916) was an American botanist and plant pathologist who first discovered bacterial causes for plant disease.[1] He introduced Erwinia amylovora (called by him Micrococcus amylovorus) as the causal agent of pear fire blight.

Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, he moved with his family at age 9 to a farm in Stephenson County, Illinois.[2] Burrill graduated Illinois State Normal University in 1865.[3] He then worked for two years as superintendent of the Urbana public schools. In 1867, he was selected by John Wesley Powell to be the botanist for an expedition to the Colorado Rocky Mountains.[2]

After the Colorado expedition, Burrill began teaching algebra as an assistant professor in 1869. He soon switched to teaching botany and by 1870 was promoted to professor. In 1868, he was elected professor of botany and horticulture at University of Illinois and remained there the rest of his career, eventually serving as Vice President in 1882.[4]


  1. ^ "Thomas Jonathan Burrill: April 25, 1839-April 14, 1916". Transactions of the American Microscopical Society. 35 (4): 269–270. Oct 1916. JSTOR 3221912.
  2. ^ a b Rogers, A. D. III (1952). Erwini Frink Smith. Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society. 31. p. 675.
  3. ^ "BURRILL, Thomas Jonathan". The International Who's Who in the World. 1912. p. 213.
  4. ^ Smith, Erwin F. (May 1916). "In Memoriam: Thomas Jonathan Burrill" (PDF). Journal of Bacteriology. 1 (3): 269.b2–271. PMC 378653.
  5. ^ IPNI.  Burrill.

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