Jean Baptiste Joseph Diendonne Boussingault, a French chemist, born in Paris, Feb. 2, 1802. He was educated in the mining academy at Saint-Etienne, and afterward employed by an English company to direct the working of some mines in South America. During the revolution and the war of independence he joined Bolivar, and obtained the rank of colonel. He explored Venezuela, and all the regions between Cartagena and the mouths of the Orinoco, as well as Peru and Ecuador, making numerous observations in meteorology and collections in botany and mineralogy. He was the friend and correspondent of Alexander von Humboldt. On his return to France, he was appointed professor of chemistry and dean of the faculty of sciences at Lyons; and in 1839 he became a member of the institute and taught in the chair of Dumas at the Sorbonne. Among his best works is Eco-nomie rurale (2 vols., Paris, 1844; English translation by Law, London, 1845; new French ed., Agronomie, chimie agricole et physiologie, 3 vols., 1861-4). The appreciation of manures according to the proportions of nitrogen which they contain is chiefly due to the researches of Boussingault; and in cooperation with Dumas he measured the exact proportions of the constituent elements of atmospheric air.
He has made valuable observations on the peculiar properties and uses of different kinds of vegetables in the feeding and the fattening of cattle, and discovered a very simple method of preparing oxygen by means of baryta. He is one of the chief writers for the Annales de physique et de chimie, and for the annals of the academy. He was elected to the constituent assembly in 1848.