It is with deep regret that we have learned of the passing of CIAT emeritus Dr. Michael D.J. Thung, an Indonesian national who worked as a post-doctoral scientist at CIAT’s cassava and bean programs in 1975. In 1978, he joined full time the bean program, where he started evaluating advanced breeding lines for tolerance of aluminum and adaptation to low phosphorus levels.
In 1982, he joined EMBRAPA’s bean team in Goiania, Brazil, as a representative from CIAT, where he continued to work until he culminated his professional career.
Michael Thung coordinated a collaborative effort on bean research between CIAT and the National Rice and Bean Research Center (CNPAF) of EMBRAPA. Within that framework, dozens of varieties were released for use by Brazilian farmers.
“Mike had an optimistic view of work and life, and it was very contagious. He would always bring his good sense of humor to his interactions with colleagues,” said Steve Beebe, leader of CIAT’s bean program.
Dr. Idupulapati Rao, a CIAT emeritus, said, “Dr. Thung was one of the most outstanding scientists in soil research. He contributed to the development of numerous bean varieties now widely cultivated in Brazil. Not only did he publish several journal articles and book chapters, but also he published a brochure about abiotic limiting factors in common bean production. I was lucky to interact with him during his field visits and to benefit greatly from his knowledge during my early career at CIAT. I am proud to be a co-author in one of his book chapters on: Integrated Management of Abiotic Stresses.”
Dr. Michael D.J. Thung will be remembered by many for his huge professional achievements, which helped advance knowledge in bean breeding from its early stages to maturity, thus paving the way for important contributions to improving the livelihoods of bean farmers across the world.
Our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.