Chen Wenxin

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Chen Wenxin
Chen Wenxin in the Soviet Union in 1954 (cropped).jpg
Chen in 1954
Born(1926-09-23)23 September 1926
Died7 October 2021(2021-10-07) (aged 95)
Beijing, People's Republic of China
Alma materWuhan University
Russian State Agrarian University - Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy
Scientific career
FieldsSoil microorganisms
Bacterial taxonomy
InstitutionsChina Agricultural University
Doctoral advisorFederov
Other academic advisorsShi Shenghan [zh]
Gao Shangying (高尚英)
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese

Chen Wenxin (23 September 1926 – 7 October 2021) was a Chinese biologist specializing in soil microorganisms and bacterial taxonomy, and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.[1] Some English-language sources cite her as "Wen Xin Chen" or as "Wen-Xin Chen".


A group photo of Chen and her teacher and other students before going to National No. 11 High School

Chen was born in the town of Zhentou, Liuyang County, Hunan, on 23 September 1926, to Chen Chang [zh], a classmate of Mao Zedong at Hunan First Normal University and revolutionary of the Chinese Communist Party, and Mao Bingqin (毛秉琴).[2][3] Her father was killed by Kuomintang in Changsha in February 1930 when she was only three.[2] She had two elder sisters.[2] In 1942, she attended National No. 11 High School (now Yueyang No. 1 High School) in Yueyang.[2] After graduating in 1945, she returned to her hometown to teach primary school for two years.[2] In 1948, she enrolled at the Department of Agricultural Chemistry, National Wuhan University (now Wuhan University), where she graduated in 1952.[2][3] In 1954, she was sent to study at the Russian State Agrarian University – Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy on government scholarships, earning her vice-doctorate degree under the supervision of Federov in 1958.[2][3]

Chen returned to China in 1959 and taught at Beijing Agricultural University (now China Agricultural University).[2][4] From 1982 to 1983, she was a visiting scholar at Cornell University.[2] She was elected to the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2001.[5]

On 7 October 2021, she died from an illness in Beijing, aged 95.[6]


Chen established the first modern bacterial molecular classification laboratory in China.[2][3] She put forward new ideas to deny the traditional concepts of "host specificity" of rhizobia and "interracial race" with plants.[2][3] She founded the world's largest rhizobium resource database in China, whose number of strains and host plant species ranked first in the world.[2][3] She established a set of scientific Rhizobium classification, identification technical methods and data processing procedures.[2][3] She proved the diversity of symbiotic relationship between rhizobia and legumes, and revealed the great difference in symbiotic effectiveness between near source strains and different varieties of plants, she also put forward new ideas on the evolution of symbiotic mechanism of rhizobia, and found that mixed planting between gramineous plants and legumes can eliminate the obstacle of "nitrogen repression" of rhizobia, and the two interact to produce high yield.[2][3]

Honours and awards

The genus Wenxinia was named in her honour.[8][9]


  1. Zhong Yuhao (钟煜豪) (8 October 2021). 中科院院士陈文新逝世,今年已有26位两院院士远去. (in 中文). Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 He Zhiyong (何志勇) (12 June 2015). 陈文新:踏遍青山为中华. (in 中文). Retrieved 8 October 2021. 第一,我是农村长大的,对农村和农民的情况比较了解,觉得中国的农民很苦,农业比较落后,所以想学农;第二,我上中学的时候比较喜欢数学、化学,所以报了农业化学系。(First, I grew up in rural areas, I know more about rural and farmers. I feel that China's peasants are suffering. The agriculture is backward. So I want to learn agriculture; second, I prefer mathematics, chemistry. I chose the Department of Agricultural Chemistry.)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Huang Wei (黄伟), ed. (8 October 2021). 痛悼!这位武大老校友去世. Hubei Daily (in 中文). Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  4. Li Chen (李琛), ed. (8 October 2021). 巨星陨落!中国科学院院士陈文新逝世. (in 中文). Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "2001年中国科学院院士增选当选院士名单" [List of new members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences elected in 2001]. (in 中文). 6 May 2001.
  6. 中国科学院院士、土壤微生物学家陈文新逝世,享年95岁. sina (in 中文). 8 October 2021. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  7. "Condolences!Chen Wenxin, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences from Hunan, dies". INEWS. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  8. "Genus wenxinia". LPSN - List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature. 2007. Retrieved 8 October 2021. Etymology:’i.a. N.L. fem. n. Wenxinia, named after Professor Wen-Xin Chen, one of the academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a pioneer of soil microbiology in China
  9. Riedel, Thomas; Fiebig, Anne (14 June 2014). "Genome sequence of the Wenxinia marina type strain (DSM 24838T), a representative of the Roseobacter group isolated from oilfield sediments". Stand Genomic Sci. 9 (3): 855–865. doi:10.4056/sigs.5601028. Retrieved 8 October 2021. The genus Wenxinia was named after Professor Wen-Xin Chen, a Chinese pioneer in soil microbiology.

External links

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