On this fine day, meet Dr Janaki Ammal…
By manipulating polyploid cells through cross-breeding of hybrids in the laboratory, Janaki was able to create a high yielding strain of the sugarcane that would thrive in Indian conditions. Her research also helped analyse the geographical distribution of sugarcane across India, and to establish that the S. Spontaneum variety of sugarcane had originated in India.
…India’s first woman PhD in botany, and a pioneer in the use of wild relatives in sugarcane breeding.
An incredible woman who spent her life in the pursuit of science, Janaki Ammal believed that it was through her work that she should be remembered. So, the next time you use a spoonful of sugar grown by an Indian sugarcane farmer, remember that you are it was Dr Janaki Ammal who added that extra bit of sweetness!