Dr. V.P. Agnihotri was born on June 20, 1937 at Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh. He had his early schooling at Hardwar and Nagina and obtained his B.Sc. (1956), M.Sc. (1958) and D. Phil (1962) degrees from the Allahabad University. Dr. Agnihotri did his research work for M. Sc thesis under the able guidance of Prof. R.N. Tandon and D. Phil with Prof. Mehrotra on Ecology, Taxonomy and Physiology of Aspergilli. Dr. Agnihotri was awarded Empress Victoria Readership during the tenure of his D. Phil degree.
Dr. Agnihotri started his professional career as Assistant Professor at the G.B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar (July 1963 to Dec. 1963). Thereafter, he joined the Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow as a Junior Class-I officer. While at the Institute, he received an attractive offer from the Botany Department, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA and joined the University as an Assistant Professor (Research) and worked on aflatoxins with Prof. U.L. Diener and Dr. N.D. Davis from July 1964 - Oct. 1965. He conclusively demonstrated that zinc is essential for the production of aflatoxins, both B1 and G1. Thereafter, he joined the Canada Department with Dr. O. Vaartaja, a world renowned authority on Pythia. Taxo-ecological and physiological work on Pythia brought him international recognition. His work on Pythia is extensively referred to in the international monograph on the genus Pythium by Plaats-Niterink (1981) and in the book - Sugarcane improvement through breeding by Don J. Heinz (1987).
In 1971, Dr. Agnihotri again joined the Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow as Sugarcane Mycologist. At the Institute he worked as Scientist S-2, Scientist S-3 and as Principal Scientist. While working as Principal Scientist he was appointed Director (1990-1991). At the Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow, Dr. Agnihotri worked for about 26 years on all the three sugar crops sugarcane, sugarbeet and sweet sorghum. From 1971-1997, he worked on all major diseases of sugarcane, viz., red rot, smut, wilt and leaf scald with emphasis on epidemiology and management of diseases. He developed an effective integrated disease management system for controlling sett borne diseases of sugarcane.
Dr. Agnihotri published about 160 research papers. Besides he contributed about 35 review articles for books published from India, Canada, France, Germany and USA. Dr. Agnihotri also wrote 5 books, edited seven books and three bulletins.
Dr. Agnihotri visited several phytopathological research laboratories in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy and has also participated in several conferences, seminars and symposia. He also travelled extensively in India to advice sugarcane growers on sugarcane and sugarbeet diseases and also as an examiner of 26 Agricultural and Traditional Universities in India.
For his notable contributions in the field of Plant Pathology, Dr. Agnihotri was awarded gold medal and cash for delivering Professor M.S. Pavgi lecture at Bhavnagar in Gujarat. In 1995, he was unanimously elected President of the Indian Phytopathological Society.
Dr. Agnihotri superannuated from active service on June 30, 1997.