Professor Pate's major contribution has been the quantitation and integration of our understanding of the carbon and nitrogen economy of legume plants, especially the pea. Using a wide range of experimental approaches and techniques, many of his own devising, he has analysed the circulatory system for nitrogen and carbon compounds, particularly in the fruits, but also in the leaves, roots and nitrogen-fixing nodules. In this field he is pre-eminent and his work has, for example, elucidated the interrelations and traffic between xylem and phloem, and the nature of the competition between roots and nodules in their metabolic activities. With Professor B.E.S. Gunning he discovered transfer cells and elucidated their function in plants.