Edgar J DaSilva - Online Memorial Website

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Edgar DaSilva
Born in India
66 years
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And now, the end is near;/ And so I face the final curtain./I've lived a life thats full./I've traveled each and ev'ry highway;/And more, much more than this,/ I did it my way.-My Way (Frank Sinatra)

This memorial website was created to remember our dearest Edgar J DaSilva who was born in India on August 21, 1941 and passed away on October 28, 2007. You will live forever in our memories and hearts.


Edgar J. DaSilva, 66, was an Indian microbiologist whose passion for the practical application of his subject drove him to champion biotechnology in developing countries around the world.


Latest Memories
Jacques Richardson

Thank you, so much, for contacting me. I am nonplussed at the news of Edgar's death, and wish to convey my deep sympathy to you, his family, and all the colleagues who have worked with Edgar over the years.

Edgar is responsible not only for having created the Unesco-sponsored centres of microbiology dispersed throughout the world--and following through so that these research centres became fully operational and productive. He was also devoted to the building of valid scientific resources accessible to young scientific investigators throughout the developing regions, meaning the poor world.


Edgar contributed steadily, furthermore, to the literature of scientific research during the decades that he was affiliated with the United Nations system. He wrote for journals such as 'Impact of Science on Society' and reviews specifically concerned with the world of microbiology and the expanding biotechnologies; he continued to publish articles well into his life of "retirement".


Edgar was in every way dedicated to his professional mission and, even after retirement from Unesco, continued to respond to demand for his lectures in Japan, the Republic of South Africa, North America, the Nordic countries, and elsewhere.


I recall the observation made about Edgar by Federico Mayor, a biochemist and former director-general of Unesco who was extremely familiar with Edgar's formidable professional reach: "DaSilva is a real scientist, and we are fortunate to have him on our team".


I knew Edgar well for more than forty years, and Indian to the core, and shall miss his unending jokes and ready smile.


Jacques Richardson

Dr. Kazuo Komagata

I received your E-mail message with Dr. Edgar DaSilva through Prof. H. Sugawara, WDCM, in Japan. In response to your request, I would like to write a few lines with him. Please feel free to edit my manuscript to fit in with your context. 


I express my deepest condolences to passing away of Dr. Edgar DaSilva. I have had a long acquaintance with him since I met him at Brisbane, Australia in 1975, where the meeting/workshop for preservation of genetic pools and establishment of culture collections was held under the sponsorship of UNEP, UNESCO, ICRO, and WFCC. He jointed the meeting/workshop and signed the certificate of participants as the representative of UNESCO.


Dr. DaSilva visited developing countries very often as the officer of UNESCO and MIRCENs. He worked for the development of culture collections of microorganisms and biotechnology, and encouraged personnel and students in the countries. He was very open-minded and kind to all persons around him.

Dr. DaSilva was elected the Vice President of the World Federation for Culture Collections (WFCC) in 1973 at the 2nd International Congress of Culture Collections (ICCC-2) at San Paulo. He served on the WFCC from 1973 to 1976, and he made effort to strengthen the WFCC (Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 25, 90-94 1975).

I personally worked with Dr. DaSilva for the MIRCEN network and the WFCC many times abroad and in Japan as well. He really devoted his life to progress of developing countries and making WFCC and MIRCENs recognized as the international organizations of culture collections and biotechnology.


Dr. Kazuo Komagata

(Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo, the former director of Japan Collection of Microorganisms, and the former director of World Data Center)  


Professor ST Chang, OBE

Thank you for your latest message. The followings are some brief comments on Edgar’s involvement with my mushroom training and research programs at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. We became acquainted at The Coordinating Board Meeting of the UNESCO Regional Network for Microbiology in Southeast Asia in 1976. In the following year, 1977, we first collaborated to organize the first UNESCO mushroom training course for three week in Hong Kong. After that we really because close friends and collaborators and he supported me organizing several international and regional conferences on applied microbiology particularly in mushroom biotechnology. Over 30 years of our friendship, I can say that “Edgar is a brilliant thinker, a superb writer, an efficient and effective administrator, a kind and decent man, and a royal friend”.




S. T.

Professor ST Chang, OBE

Emeritus Professor of Biology

Fernando Acevedo

I am really very touched by the death of Edgar. Edgar and I were good friends and I appreciate him ver much, both as a biotechnologist and as a human being.

We met over 35 years ago and he was very helpful with our School of Biochemical Engineering and was always concerned with the development of biotechnology in Chile and latin America. I think that he contributed in many ways to biotechnology, notably through his initiative of the MIRCEN network. He was in Chile several times and on each of them we got together and discuss his ideas for several hours. We also met a few times in Paris and Amsterdam.

I just want to share with you these memories of a fine man.




Fernando Acevedo

Colin Ratledge, Dept-Biological Sciences

Edgar was a splendid person and it was my privilege to have met him on several occasions and to have worked with on several projects. Edgar was irrepressible.  His energy was outstanding.  His contribution to the development of microbiology throughout the developing world was, I believe, unsurpassed.


Edgar worked tirelessly until his retirement six years ago through the offices of UNESCO to build up an international network of microbiology laboratories that could undertake the training and development of microbiologists in developing countries.  He conceived of the idea of there being a number of these laboratories in Africa, South America, Asia and also in Europe, North America and Australia. He was able to carry this through to fruition by virtue of his own beliefs in the worthwhileness of this; he identified key personnel and through them instigated a series of MIRCEN Centres:  Microbial Resources Centres.


Edgar's vision was that these Centres would be responsible for the use and preservation of microorganisms for deployment in environmental management.  There was to be particular emphasis on Rhizobium gene pools as these were so important for the growth of various leguminous  crops which are so important for the economy of many countries.  Altogether, 15 MIRCEN Centres were created during the late 1970s and early 1980s.


Soon after the establishment of these Centres, it became clear to Edgar that publication of microbiological work being carried out in the developing countries needed its own journal that could recognise the difficulties under which such work was being carried out.  The work  would often be unique in that it would be describing microbial systems and the development of projects that were unknown elsewhere. Often this research would offer new insights and possible solutions to old problems.  However the research might not reach the highest standards of other research in Europe or North America because of the problems in doing such work under very difficult conditions.  Edgar felt, with some justification, that to deny such research valid publication was unreasonable. He therefore conceived of the MIRCEN Journal of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology.  This was launched in 1985 with Jacques Senez of Marseille and Fred Skinner in the UK being the first joint editors.  Edgar was Chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board. The venture was backed by UNESCO and publication was undertaken by Oxford University Press.   After two years,  E.J. Nyns from Belgium and myself took over the editors' duties.   Three years later, in 1990 the Journal after having proved a great success was re-vamped and re-launched with a more encompassing title:  World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnolgy.  Again Edgar was very much to the forefront in deciding the new title.  His input into the Journal was considerable;  he instigated several special issues of the Journal that covered a variety of key topics but all of which focussed on some unique aspect of microbiology being carried out in developing countries which was of significance and relevance to the rest of the world.  Edgar remained an Editorial Advisor to the end.


Edgar's contribution to world microbiology was massive; no one came close to what he achieved.  He tirelessly pursued these goals believing that microbiology and biotechnology could offer so much to developing countries to help them develop their own unique resources and make a lasting impact on microbiology throughout the world.

Microbiology and biotechnology were seen as important activities to give confidence to workers throughout the world that what they were doing, even with highly limited resources, was important and could be a major way of improving hygiene and agriculture as well as providing simple biotechnology products for people.  His legacy will live on for many decades to come.


It was a privilege to have known Edgar and to have worked with him. He will be missed by colleagues in tremendous numbers throughout the world.


I will try to contact some of Edgar's old colleagues.

Best wishes


Latest Condolences
Dr. Haresh Kamdar. Prof. Biotechnology. November 28, 2011
Dr. Dasilva inspired us all, we were his students at St. Xavier's College. We liked him as a teacher and he was a blessing to us all. Dr. DaSilva, you will be missed by all of us.
Mukesh Gajaria Unit,Hospital for Sick Children,Toronto,Canada November 27, 2011
Dr Edgar Da Silva, inspired me with his depth and insight,whilst I was his student at St Xavier's College,Mumbai from 1971-1972.
The world has lost an eminet man.

Deepest condolences to his family and his close friends.
Mukesh Gajaria Chief Dialysis Technologist, November 27, 2011
Mara Estero My Condolences for the Family September 30, 2011
Have you lost a loved one in death? The pain, the grief, and the feelings of helplessness can seem unbearable. At such times, we need to go to God’s Word for comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4) The Bible helps us to understand how Jehovah and Jesus feel about death. Jesus, who perfectly reflected his Father, knew the pain of losing someone in death. (John 14:9) When he was in Jerusalem, Jesus used to visit Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, who lived in the nearby town of Bethany. They became close friends. The Bible says: “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” (John 11:5) Though, Lazarus died. How did Jesus feel about losing his friend? The account tells us that Jesus joined Lazarus’ relatives and friends as they grieved over this loss. Seeing them, Jesus was deeply moved. He “groaned in the spirit and became troubled.” Then, the account says, “Jesus gave way to tears.” (John 11:3335) Did Jesus’ grief mean that he had no hope? Not at all. In fact, Jesus knew that something wonderful was about to happen. (John 11:3, 4) Still, he felt the pain and sorrow that death brings. In a way, Jesus’ grief is encouraging to us. It teaches us that Jesus and his Father, Jehovah, hate death. But Jehovah God is able to fight and overcome that enemy! Let us see what God enabled Jesus to do.
For more reference about this wonderful hope you can visit www.watchtower.org 
clarence fernandez Obit URL June 10, 2008

Link to World Academy of Art and Science newsletter:



Quick Gallery
Edgar in Montpelier Edgar and Shilpa, lunch, Una and Tony's residence Edgar, Una share lighter moments Edgar in Montpelier Cecil, happy meals Cecil, Una, Natasha Edgar and Shilpa, lunch, Una and Tony's residence Edgar on trip to Nimes All listening to Prof. Edgar, dinner at Chembur At lunch in Chembur Clarence and Julian remember Edgar Edgar, explaining the complexities of micro-biology Edgar in South Africa Edgar, Coral, all smiles Edgar, Shilpa, Tony