John Franz and RoundUp

John Franz-Inventor of Glyphosate for Roundups

A. The History of John Franz

 John E. Franz is the inventor of the glyphosate compound which is well known as an active ingredient of herbicide in various trademarks Roundup and other brands. A compound that plays an important role in the development of the world of agriculture but it cannot be separated from the controversy that frequently surrounds it. This invention has contributed greatly to influencing crop production and productivity from damaging weeds. In a different aspect, its usage give negative impact in relating to polluting and damaging to the environment by some parties.


John Franz-Inventor of Glyphosate

Based on his history, John Franz was a chemist who was born in Springfield, Illinois, United States on December 21, 1929. He obtained his Bachelor of Science (BS) from the University of Illinois in 1951 and doctoral (Ph.D) at the University of Minnesota in 1955. He started working in 1955 at the USA based Agrochemical Company namely Monsanto and assigned to the Organic Chemical Division, Monsanto in St. Petersburg. Louis, Missouri. After 12 years more or less in that department, John Franz moved to the Agricultural Product Division.


Structure of Glyphosate

B. the Discovery of Glyphosate

He, along with other researchers, namely Dr. Phil Hamm researches the components of compounds of weed control. Monsanto researchers have conducted research for approximately 9 years to find effective formulas in controlling perennial and annual Weeds but there has been no significant progress. Finally, John Franz Take over this duty


Gyphosate and Its Compound

In 1970, he discovered Glyphosate, which is used as the active ingredient in broad-spectrum herbicides. The procedures of this herbicide in plants inhibited the 5-enolpyruvil-shikimat-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) enzyme which plays a role in the formation of amino acids, such as tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylalanine. In plants, amino acid  has important and positive effects in various physiological processes and plant metabolism, such as protein synthesis, nitrogen fixation, precursor hormones, stress-reducing agents. If the plant metabolic process is hampered due to a disturbance in the formation of amino acids, the development and growth of the plant will be disrupted and die. When viewed from the way of entry, glyphosate can enter plants through absorption by plants through leaves and other plant parts which are then translocated/transported through the phloem vessels.


Monsanto and Round Up

This herbicide containing the active ingredient glyphosate was then sold under the brand name “Roundup“. This herbicide brand is on its way to becoming one of the best-selling products in the United States and the World. Many farmers in the world are still using “Roundup” as a tool to control weeds in their crops. From time to time, various herbicide brands not only “Roundup” use the active ingredient Glyphosate for weed control.

C. Patent anda Reward

In addition to the phenomenal discovery of Glyphosate, he has 840 patents for all of his inventions. Some of the patents he discovered and held include:

NumberRegistered PatentInvention
14,840,659N-Phosphonomethylglycine phytotoxicant compositions
24,735,649Gametocides
34,659,860Thioester of n-phosphonomethylglycine
44,652,297Hydrazido derivatives of N-phosphinothioylmethylglycine esters
54,634,788Herbicidal glyphosate oxime derivatives
64,556,415Bis-(alkoxy)tetrathiotricarboxylates and use as herbicides thereof
74,545,804N(Aminophosphinylmethyl) glycine derivatives
84,505,736N-Phosphonomethylglycine derivatives and use as herbicides
94,496,389Amide derivatives of N-trifluoroacetyl-N-phosphonomethylglycine, herbicidal compositions and use
104,495,363Esters of N-phosphonomethylglycine
114,471,131Novel silyl esters of N-phosphonomethylglycine
124,435,204N-Organo-phosphonomethylglycine-N-oxides and the use thereof to increase the sucrose content of sugarcane
134,421,549Amido and hydrazido derivatives of N-trifluoroacetyl-N-phosphinothioylmethylglycine esters
144,405,531Salts of N-phosphonomethylglycine
154,359,332Amide and hydrazide derivatives of N-trifluoroacetyl-N-phosphonomethylglycine as herbicides
164,353,731Amide and hydrazide derivatives of N-trifluoroacetyl-N-phosphonomethylglycine
174,261,728Use of 3-aryl-4-isoxazolecarboxylic acid derivatives as herbicides
184,245,106Process for the preparation of 1-alkyl-3-aryl-4-pyrazolecarboxylates
194,243,4065-Aryl-4-isoxazolecarboxylate-safening agents
204,231,782N-Carbobenzoxy-N-phosphonomethylglycine thioesters
214,226,611N-Phosphonomethylglycine thioester herbicides
224,218,235Ester derivatives of n-trifluoroacetyl-n-phosphonomethylglycine and the herbicidal use thereof
234,211,732N-Carbobenzoxy-N-phosphinothioylmethylgylcine esters
244,211,548Esters of N-phosphinothioylmethylglycine and herbicidal method
254,199,345Derivatives of N-trifluoroacetyl-N-phosphonomethylglycine dichloride
264,195,983N-Trifluoroacetyl-N-phosphinothioylmethylglycine esters
274,187,0993-Aryl-4-isothiazolecarboxylic acid and 3-aryl-4-isoxazolecarboxylic acid derivatives and their use as herbicides
284,180,394Derivatives of N-trifluoroacetyl-N-phosphonomethylglycinates and the herbicidal use thereof
294,175,946Thio derivatives of N-trifluoroacetyl-N-phosphonomethylglycine
304,147,719Process for producing N-phosphonomethylglycine salts
314,144,0473-Aryl-4-isoxazolecarboxylic acids as plant growth regulants
324,131,448N-Organo-N-phosphonomethylglycine-N-oxides and phytotoxicant compositions containing same
334,130,412N-Organo-N-phosphonomethylglycine-N-oxides and phytotoxicant compositions containing same
344,116,6731-Alkyl-3-aryl-4-pyrazolecarboxylates
354,115,104Dicyanovinylhydrazonomalononitriles and the herbicidal use thereof
364,115,0955-Aryl-1,2,4-thiadiazole-3-carboxylates and agricultural methods
374,110,100Phosphinylmethylimino-acetic acid N-oxide compounds and the sucrose increasing use thereof
384,106,923Phosphonomethyl glycine ester anhydrides, herbicidal composition containing same and use thereof
394,094,661Plant growth regulators
404,084,953N-hydroxy-N-phosphonomethylglycines and the herbicidal use thereof
414,062,669N-Organo-N-phosphonomethylglycine-N-oxides and plant growth regulant and phytotoxicant compositions containing same
424,025,332Increasing sucrose content of sugarcane plants with N-phosphonomethylglycinamides
434,003,912Dicarboximido-N-phenylsubstituted carbamates and derivatives
443,996,040Increasing sucrose content of sugar cane employing N-phenylsulfonamido-N-phosphonomethyl glycine and certain derivatives thereof
453,993,467Hydroxyalkyl esters of N-phosphonomethyl glycine and the herbicidal use thereof
463,988,142Increasing carbohydrate deposition in plants with N-phosphono-methylglycine and derivatives thereof
473,985,773Plant growth regulators
483,977,860Herbicidal compositions and methods employing esters of N-phosphonomethylglycine
493,971,648Herbicidal use of carboxyalkyl ester of N-phosphonomethyl glycine
503,954,848Process for producing N-phosphonomethyl glycine

Source:  United States Patent and Trademark Office

As a result of his contribution to the field of research, especially his breakthrough in the discovery of glyphosate compounds as weed control. He has received various prestigious awards :

1. J.F. Queeny Award  from Monsanto on its invention.

1.National Medal of Technology in 1987

3. Perkin Medal 1990 from the American Section of the Society of Chemical Industry

4. Missouri Award in 1988

5. Inventors’ Hall of Fame in 2007

D. The Current Controversy of Glyphosate

Behind his great discoveries related to glyphosate, there are some parties who oppose the usage of glyphosate in agricultural land. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015 was concerned about the use of glyphosate which could potentially cause cancer. In several countries around the world banned Glyphosate because of the various environmental pollutants it causes. On the biodiversity side of things, according to researchers from McGill University, the usage of glyphosate can lead to loss of biodiversity, make ecosystems more vulnerable to pollution and climate change. Recently, the Bayer Chemical Company, which is the parent company of the Monsanto, has faced billions of dollars in charges in the United States after a judge found the herbicide branded Roundup could cause cancer in a school keeper. However, the various prohibitions and negative opinions about glyphosate caused concern to farmers, who feared that it would affect the effectiveness and efficiency of weed control in the fields if there was a ban on the use of glyphosate in the fields. They think glyphosate is still effective in controlling weeds in the fields.

Source :

Hildebrandt, Tatjana, N.Adriano, A. Wagner, and B. Hans-Peter. 2015. Amino Acid Catabolism in Plants. Molecular plant 8(11). Diakses melalui https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1674205215003664

 Teixeira, W.F., Soares, L.H., Fagan, E.B. et al. Amino Acids as Stress Reducers in Soybean Plant Growth Under Different Water-Deficit Conditions. J Plant Growth Regul 39, 905–919 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00344-019-10032-z

National Inventors Hall of Fame.2020. John E. Franz. Retrieved from https://www.invent.org/inductees/john-e-franz

Wikipedia. 2020. John E. Franz . Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_E._Franz#cite_note-Lemelson-2

National Science and Technology Medal Foundation. 2020 . John E. Franz. Retrieved from https://www.nationalmedals.org/laureates/john-e-franz

United States Patent and Trademark Office. 2020. Search in US Patent Collection db for: IN/”Franz, John. Retrieved from  http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&r=0&f=S&l=50&d=PTXT&S1=(%22Franz,+John+E%22.INNM.)&Page=Prev&OS=IN/%22Franz,+John+E%22&RS=IN/%22Franz,+John+E%22

Sue Lannin. 2018. ABC News. Farmers fear Roundup will be killed off as lawsuits pile up against Bayer after US cancer ruling Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-07/roundup-monsanto-cancer-ruling-prompts-farmer-fears-of-ban/10210704

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