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John E. Franz

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In 1970, research chemist John Franz, born December 21, 1921, discovered the glyphosate class of herbicides, while working for Monsanto, and searching for a systemic product that would be effective against perennial and annual weeds. Marketed under the brand name Roundup®, glyphosate eliminates more than 125 kinds of weeds and is generally thought to be nontoxic to animals. Glyphosate is among the most widely used herbicides in the world.

John Franz was born in Springfield, Illinois. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Illinois and the University of Minnesota. He commenced work at Monsanto Company in 1955 and retired in 1991. Franz was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1987 and the Perkin Medal in 1990. He holds over 840 U.S. and foreign patents.


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