CHENNAI, India (Sept. 6) — Tan Sri Dr. B.C. Sekhar, 76, former director of the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia, died of a heart attack Sept. 6 in Chennai.
Born on a rubber plantation in Ulu Buloh, just a few kilometers from the RRIM experimental station, Sekhar joined the institute in 1949 after graduating from the University of Delhi. Becoming director in 1966, he turned the RRIM into the largest single-crop agricultural research organization in the world.
Among other accomplishments at the RRIM, Sekhar developed latex anticoagulants that increased rubber yield from Hevea trees by delaying the clotting mechanism of Hevea sap. Sekhar retired in 1993, and two years later founded STI Corp. Sdn. Bhd., a company devoted to marketing the patented rubber devulcanization process Sekhar developed with the Russian scientist Vitaly Kormer.
STI´s "De-Link" process reportedly restored vulcanized rubber to 75 percent of its virgin properties; however, tire and rubber product manufacturers were indifferent to the product at a time of cheap natural rubber, and the firm folded in 1998.
Sekhar is survived by his wife, Puan Sri Sukumari; four children; and eight grandchildren.