UC Davis Plant SciencesProf. Don J. Durzan




Emeritus Plant physiologist in the Agriculture Experiment Station at Davis

Prof. Don DurzanAddress: Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616-8587 USA.

Telephone: (530) 752-0399

Fax: (530) 752-0399 (office)

E-mail: djdurzan@ucdavis.edu


Continuing Research Interests

Cellular Biotechnologies: 1. Anti-cancer drug production in conifer cell suspension cultures. 2. Tissue engineering in simulated microgravity. 3. Developmentally controlled programmed cell death (apoptosis). 4. Intermediary nitrogen metabolism with emphasis on amino acids, guanidino compounds, and control of nitric oxide bursts under stressful conditions. 5. Tracking of mitosis, meiosis, and restitutional divisions that predispose apomictic parthenogenesis and androsporogenesis. 6. Simulation of Mesozoic and Permian environmental conditions for the alternation of generations in cell suspensions of extant conifers.

Tree Improvement: 1. Monozygotic cleavage polyembryony for cloning and capturing genetic gains in tree breeding and improvement programs. 2. Feedforward and feedback bioprocess controls for an artificial sporangium. 3. Adaptive plasticity in pluripotent cell lineages. 4. Underutilized horticultural and forest species.

International Programs: 1. Training programs for newly industrialized countries. 3. Development of value-added biomass products for commercialization. 4. Opportunities for semi-tropical horticulture and forest production.


Cell and tissue culture laboratory in Environmental Horticulture facility with access to advanced instrumentation on the Davis campus. Research may involve cooperative projects with industry.


Bonga JM and DJ Durzan eds 1982 Tissue culture in forestry. Martinus Nijhoff/ Dr W. Junk Publishers. The Hague. 420 pp. ISBN 90-247-2660-3.

Bonga JM and DJ Durzan eds 1987 Cell and tissue culture in Forestry. Volume 1. General Principles and Biotechnology. 422 pp. Volume 2. Specific principles and methods. 447 pp. Volume 3. Case histories. 416 pp. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands. ISBN 90-247-3433-9 (set).

R.R. Rodriguez, R. Sánchez-Tamés and D.J. Durzan eds 1990. Plant Aging. Basic and Applied Approaches.450 pp. Plenum Press, N.Y. ISBN 0-306-43518-7.

Blume Y., Durzan D.J. and P. Smertenko eds. 2006. Cell Biology and Instrumentation: UV Radiation, Nitric Oxide and Cell Death in Plants. IOS Press, NATO Advanced Research Workshop, Yalta, Ukraine, September 8 to 11. ISSN 156-7693. 350 pp.


Contact: Office of Technology Transfer, Licensing Dept, Office of the President, University of California, 1320 Harbor Bay Parkway, Suite 150, Alameda CA 95402 phone (510) 748-6600.

1.  Taxol and taxane production in haploid-derived cell cultures US Patent No. 5,547,866. Aug. 20 1996. (Don J. Durzan and F. Ventimiglia) Foreign patents: Canadian (2,194,701), Japanese (8-505062) and International (WO 96/02656) protection

2.  Recovery of taxanes from conifers (xylanase and taxanes from Coniferales) US Patent No. 5,670,663 Sept 23 1997.  (Don J. Durzan and F. Ventimiglia). Foreign patents: Canadian (2,245,583 and 2,310,332), Japanese (2000-521088) and International (WO 99/25705) protectio

3.  Method for clonal propagation of gymnosperms by somatic polyembryogenesis. US Patent 5,821,126, October 13, 1998 (Durzan DJ, Gupta PK) (filed March 3, 1995,  Licensed by Weyerhaeuser June 30, 1989 to May 31, 2007)

4. Simplified hybrid seed production by latent diploid parthenogenesis and parthenote cleavage.  US Patent No. 5,840,567 Nov. 24, 1998   (Don J. Durzan) Foreign patents: Canadian (2,208,504), and International (W) 96/ 19102) protection

5. Recovery of taxanes from conifers (screening taxanes from Coniferales) US Patent No. 5,955,621, September 21, 1999 (Don J. Durzan and F. Ventimiglia) Foreign patents: European (0882231) protection

6. Recovery of taxanes from plant material (use of Dynal magnetic beads) US Patent No. 5,981,777 November 9 1999 (Don J. Durzan and F. Ventimiglia) Foreign patents: International (WO 99/25705)

7. Cyclodextrins in plant nutrient formulations US Patent No. 6,087,176 July 11, 2000 (Don J. Durzan and F. Ventimiglia)


NASA "Space Act' Innovation Award (2003) for inventions and scientific and technical contributions that have helped NASA to achieve its aeronautical and space goals. The award included the "Recovery of taxanes and drugs by cell and biosynthetic surface enrichment with anti-drug magnetic antibodies" and for service on the Scientific Working Group for the Biotechnology Facility on the International Space Station. The patent was described in NASA's Technical Brief, September pages 66-67, 2002 entitled 'Enhanced bioproduction and extraction of taxanes".

MendelDon Durzan, professor emeritus with the Department of Plant Sciences received two prestigious awards recognizing his many contributions to the study of vegetative propagation of trees and woody species.
On June 25, 2012 he was awarded the Gregor Medal Plaque by the Rector of Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic, honoring his advances in the field of vegetative propagation of woody species. He was also recognized by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, IUFRO Working Party 2.09.02, for “Outstanding Contributions for Scientific Endeavors in the Vegetative Propagation of Trees”.

Don was elected on May 5th, 1960 as a member of the Chemical Society in London.



© UC Davis | Prof. Don Durzan, Department of Plant Sciences | One Shields Ave | Davis, CA 95616 | Last update: August 28, 2015