Burkholder obtained a Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in 1917 and remained at Cornell until his retirement in 1959. He was a pioneer in bacterial taxonomy, sorting out the major genera of plant-pathogenic bacteria that had been lumped into the genus Phytomonas. Burkholder’s classification scheme was used in Bergey’s Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, and he served as editor of the phytopathogenic bacteria section for many years. Burkholder’s scheme broke Phytomonas into the genera Agrobacterium, Corynebacterium, Erwinia, Pseudomonas, and Xanthomonas. He also worked on bacterial physiology and developed resistant bean cultivars. He first described Pseudomonas cepacia (Burkholderia cepacia) in 1949 as a cause of rot on onion bulbs. The genus Burkholderia is named in his honor.
(Submitted for publication in July 2008.)