Profesor Eduardo Primo Yúfera [1918-2007]
Apprentice of the Nobel Prize of Medicine laureate Tadeus Reichstein, Eduardo Primo Yúfera devoted his life to the advancement of food science research. In 1957, he founded the Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA), where scientific and technological advances of great importance were obtained in the industrial food sectors of preserved vegetables, bakery, and meat products. TheIATA was then (and continues to be) a research initiation school for a large number of science and technology researchers from both Spain and Latin America.
Showing a clear vision of the future, he worked on the possibility of obtaining energy from the agricultural residues, nowadays called biofuels, and on the biological fight against plagues, mainly against the white fly of citrus.
His research career has been an example and source of inspiration for many Spanish scientists. Arising from the old IATA, four research centers were created in Valencia (Spain): the Institute for Plant Molecular and Cell Biology (UPV-CSIC), which was named "Eduardo Primo Yúfera", the Dersertification Research Center (UVEG-CSIC-GVA), the Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia (CSIC) and the new IATA.
Primo Yúfera served as President of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (the Spanish National Research Council) from 1974 to 1975. Because of Spain's political isolation during the dictatorship, it was a difficult period for this institution, since scientific research is intrinsically opposed to restrictive national borders. Primo Yúfera played a very important role in the preparation of the CSIC for the political transition, and he had to cope with both the lack of interest showed by the government, and the reactionary sectors , which had turned the CSIC into their own private organization clearly in conflict with the Universities. As President of the CSIC, Professor Primo Yúfera boosted the internacionalization of the CSIC, created necessary infrastructure and advanced research in the areas of Biochemistry and Astrophysics.
Professor of Biochemistry in the Escuela Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos de Valencia and co-founder of the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, he was an excellent and tireless teacher.