Accomplishments of Louis Pasteur

By Dr. Frank J. Collazo

December 30, 2005


Louis Pasteur


French Microbiologist and Chemist



Quick Facts About Louis Pasteur:


Profession:                    French chemist and biologist

Birth Date:                    December 27, 1822

Death Date:                  September 28, 1895

Place of Death:             Saint Cloud, Hauts de Seine, France

Place of Birth:  Dole, France

Known for:                   Founding Microbiology




Proposing the germ theory of disease, in which diseases arise from naturally existing microorganisms, not from spontaneous generation, the supposed formation of disease-causing organisms from nonliving matter.  Inventing the process of pasteurization and the

development of the vaccine for rabies.


Career Development:


1848 - Taught physics at Dijon.

1849 - Taught physics at the University of Strasbourg.

1854-57 - Taught chemistry, and was dean of sciences, at the University of Lille.

1857-67 - Served as director of Scientific Studies at the École Normal Supérieure.

1863-68 - Taught chemistry, geology, and physics at the École des Beaux-Arts.

1888 - Became director of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, which was created to further

his research.

Biography:  Chemist, founder of physio-chemistry, father of bacteriology, inventor of bio-therapeutics; born at Dole, Jura, France, 27 December, 1822; died near Sevres, 28 September, 1895.  His father was a poor tanner who moved to Arbois when his son was but two months old.  Pasteur received his early education at the College Communal of Arbois, but paid little attention to his books, devoting himself to fishing and sketching. For a time it seemed as though he would become a painter.  When science was reached in the course he grew interested.  He received his degree at Besancon and then in order to devote himself to science went to Paris to study under Dumas, Balard, and Biot. 


His father helped him, but he had to support himself partly by his own labours.  His first original work was done on crystals.  Mitscherlich announced that two tartaric acids, apparently identical in chemical qualities and in crystalline form, acted differently in solution toward polarized light.  Refusing to accept this dictum, Pasteur demonstrated that the crystals thought to be similar were different, and explained the seeming inconsistency.


His discovery attracted wide attention.  As a result he devoted himself to the study of what he called dissymmetry, pointing out that inorganic substances are not dissymmetrical in their crystallization, while all the products of vegetable and animal life are dissymmetric.  He concluded that there was some great biological principle underlying this. 


As the result of his discovery he was made (1848) professor of physics at the Lycee of Dijon; three months later he became deputy professor of chemistry at the University of Strasburg, and full professor in 1852.  In 1854 he became dean and professor of chemistry at the new University of Lille; in 1856 the English Royal Society conferred on him the Rumford Medal for researches on the polarization of light with hemihedrism of crystals.  In 1857 he became director of scientific studies at the Paris Ecole Normal; in 1863 professor of geology and chemistry at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, in 1867 professor of chemistry at the Sorbonne where he remained till 889 when he became the Director of the Pasteur Institute, founded in his honor.


Unheralded Deeds: Pasteur first tried his experimental rabies vaccine on a nine-year-old boy bitten by a rabid dog.  The boy, who would likely have died otherwise, survived.

Pasteur saved France's silk industry from disaster when he discovered that some silkworms were infected with a disease-causing microorganism, and recommended that those infected be destroyed.


Louis Pasteur Accomplishments


Introduction: Pasteur, Louis (1822-1895), world-renowned French chemist and biologist, who founded the science of microbiology, proved the germ theory of disease, invented the process of pasteurization, and developed vaccines for several diseases, including rabies.


Pasteur was born in Dôle on December 27, 1822, the son of a tanner, and grew up in the small town of Arbois.  In 1847 he earned a doctorate at the École Normale in Paris, with a focus on both physics and chemistry. 


Becoming an assistant to one of his teachers, he began research that led to a significant discovery.  He found that a beam of polarized light (see Optics) was rotated to either the right or the left as it passed through a pure solution of naturally produced organic nutrients, whereas when polarized light was passed through a solution of artificially synthesized organic nutrients, no rotation took place.  If, however, bacteria or other microorganisms were placed in the latter solution, after a while it would also rotate light to the right or left.


Pasteur concluded that organic molecules could exist in one of two forms, called isomers (that is, having the same structure and differing only in mirror images of each other), which he referred to as “left-handed” and “right-handed” forms.  When chemists synthesize an organic compound, both of these forms are produced in equal proportions, canceling each other’s optical effects.  Living systems, however, which have a high degree of chemical specificity, can discriminate between the two forms, metabolizing one and leaving the other untouched and free to rotate light. 


A Man of Freedom and Rigor:  Pasteur's work is not simply the sum of his discoveries.  It also represents the revolution of scientific methodology.  Pasteur superimposed two indisputable rules of modern research: the freedom of creative imagination necessarily subjected to rigorous experimentation.  He would teach his disciples: "Do not put forward anything that you cannot prove by experimentation”.  Louis Pasteur was a humanist, always working towards the improvement of the human condition.  He was a free man who never hesitated to take issue with the prevailing yet false ideas of his time.


He ascribed particular importance to the spread of knowledge and the applications of research.  In the scientist's lifetime, Pasteurien theory and method were put into use well beyond the borders of France.


Fully aware of the international importance of his work, Pasteur's disciples dispersed themselves wherever their assistance was needed.  In 1891, the first Foreign Institut Pasteur was founded in Saigon (today Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) launching what was to become a vast international network of Instituts Pasteur.  Because he changed the world forever, his homeland and the world have long considered him a benefactor of humanity.


Development of Bacteriology:  Pasteur proceeded with the development of bacteriology and its relation to disease.  Having studied many cases of child-bed fever at the hospitals, he declared before a medical society that he had seen its cause, and challenged he drew a picture resembling a rosary of what we now know as a streptococcus, or chain coccus.  He discovered other coccus (berry) forms of pathological microbes; some of them arranged in bunches like grapes, thence called staphylococci.


Opposition to his Treatment: This treatment met with great opposition.  The Germans talked sneeringly of "a remedy of which we know nothing for a disease of which we know less".  With time Pasteur's vindication came.  The Russians, who suffered severely from rabies, from the bites of mad wolves on the steppes, found it of great service, and the tsar honored Pasteur by a personal visit.  Next the British in India found it wonder-working.  Other countries adopted it. Finally the German Government established Pasteur Institutes, and acclaimed the discovery.


Origins of Life:  In the 19th century, Louis Pasteur showed that under the conditions he studied, life could not originate naturally from nonliving matter, results interpreted broadly to mean that all life comes from living matter.  This finding could be the key to a mystery that dates back 150 years.  In 1848 French chemist Louis Pasteur discovered that almost all life on Earth is made up of molecules that twist in one direction, also known as being either “left-handed” or “right-handed.” 


For example, amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are almost exclusively left-handed, while sugars are right-handed.  But when naturally occurring molecules were created in the laboratory in later experiments, equal numbers of left- and right-handed molecules were formed.  Scientists were puzzled about why nature seemed to prefer either left-handedness or right-handedness.  Almost 70 years ago, scientists found that circularly polarized ultraviolet light can destroy one type of molecule, either the left-handed molecules or the right-handed ones, depending on which way the light is polarized.  But there was no known source of circularly polarized light when life on Earth began.


Bacteria:  Bacteria were first observed by the Dutch naturalist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek with the aid of a simple microscope of his own construction.  He reported his discovery to the Royal Society of London in 1683, but the science of bacteriology was not firmly established until the middle of the 19th century.  For nearly 200 years it was believed that bacteria are produced by spontaneous generation.  The efforts of several generations of chemists and biologists were required to prove that bacteria, like all living organisms, arise only from other similar organisms. 


The French scientist Louis Pasteur, who also discovered that fermentation, finally established this fundamental fact in 1860 and bacteria cause many infectious diseases.  The first systematic classification of bacteria was published in 1872 by the German biologist Ferdinand J. Cohn, who placed them in the plant kingdom.  They are now usually included in the kingdom Prokaryote. 


In 1876 Robert Koch, who had devised the method of inoculating bacteria directly into nutrient media as a means of studying them, found that a bacterium was the cause of the disease anthrax.  Since 1880, immunity against bacterial diseases has been systematically studied. In that year, Pasteur discovered by accident that Bacillus anthracis, cultivated at a temperature of 42° to 43° C (108° to 110° F), lost its virulence after a few generations. Later it was found that animals inoculated with these enfeebled bacteria showed resistance to the virulent bacilli.  From this beginning date the prevention, modification, and treatment of disease by immunization, one of the most important modern medical advances.


Work on Fermentation:  After spending several years of research and teaching at Dijon and Strasbourg, Pasteur moved in 1854 to the University of Lille, where he was named professor of chemistry and dean of the faculty of sciences.  This faculty had been set up partly to serve as a means of applying science to the practical problems of the industries of the region, especially the manufacture of alcoholic beverages.  Pasteur immediately devoted himself to research on the process of fermentation. 


Although his belief that yeast plays some kind of role in this process was not original, he was able to demonstrate, from his earlier work on chemical specificity, that the desired production of alcohol in fermentation is indeed due to yeast and that the undesired production of substances (such as lactic acid or acetic acid) that make wine sour is due to the presence of additional organisms such as bacteria.  The souring of wine and beer had been a major economic problem in France; Pasteur contributed to solving the problem by showing that heating the starting sugar solutions to a high temperature can eliminate bacteria.


Pasteur extended these studies to such other problems as the souring of milk, and he proposed a similar solution: heating the milk to a high temperature and pressure before bottling. T his process is now called pasteurization.


Bechamp, Pastuer, and Fermentation: About 1854, Professor Pierre Jacques Antoine Beauchamp, one of France's greatest scientists, then Professor at the School of Pharmacy in the Faculty of Science at Strasbourg, later (1857-75) Professor of Medical Chemistry and Pharmacy at the University of Montpelier, a member of many scientific societies, and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, took up the study of fermentation.


He had succeeded in 1852 in so reducing the cost of producing aniline as to make it a commercial success, and his formula became the basis of the German dye industry.  This brought him some fame, and many more problems to solve.


Up to this time, the idea prevailed that cane sugar, when dissolved in water, was spontaneously transformed at an ordinary temperature into invert sugar, which is a mixture of equal parts of glucose and fructose, but an experiment with starch had caused him to doubt the truth of this idea.


Therefore in May 1854, Beauchamp undertook a series of observations on this change, which came to be referred to as his "Beacon Experiment".  In this experiment, he dissolved perfectly pure cane sugar in water in a glass bottle containing air, but tightly stoppered.  Several other bottles contained the same solution, but with a chemical added.


In the solution without any added chemical, moulds appeared in about thirty days, and inversion of the sugar in this bottle then went on rapidly, but moulds and inversion did not occur in the other bottles containing added chemicals.  He measured the inversion frequently with a polariscope.  These observations were concluded on February 3, 1855, and his paper was published in the Report of the French Academy of Science for the session of February 19, 1855.


This left the moulds without an explanation, so he started a second series of observations on June 25, 1856 (at Strasbourg) in order to determine if possible, their origin, and on March 27, 1857, he started a third series of flasks to study the effects of creosote on the changes. Both series were ended at Montpelier on December 5, 1857.


Pasteur, apparently overlooking the air contact, challenged Beauchamp's statements, saying: "... to be logical, Beauchamp should say that he has proved that moulds arise in pure sugared water, without nitrogen, phosphates or other mineral elements, for that is an enormity that can be deduced from his work, in which there is not the expression of the least astonishment that moulds have been able to grow in pure water with pure sugar without any other mineral or organic principles."


Beauchamp's retort to this was: "A chemist au courant with science ought not to be surprised that moulds are developed in sweetened water, contained in contact with air in glass flasks.  It is the astonishment of Pasteur that is astonishing"


The Dream of Louis Pasteur Book


Plagiarism:  Pearson's book, originally published in the 1940's, under the title Pasteur, Plagiarist, Imposter, is an excellent introduction to the theory and practice of Pasteur’s "science," his inability to fully understand the concepts he was appropriating, and the consequences of the vaccines that he and his followers created.  Louis Pasteur built his reputation and altered the course of twentieth century science by plagiarizing and distorting the work Antoine Beauchamp.  Pearson exposes facts concerning Pasteur, which are still being ignored today, and provides a detailed historical background to the current controversy surrounding vaccination.  The weird thing is that even during Pasteur's lifetime, there were people who were saying that he was wrong, and that he knew he was wrong, but Pasteur was good at playing politics, and was in with the ruling class, so he won.


Pasteur Also a Faker:  While many of Pasteur's contemporaries must have known of his plagiarisms from Beauchamp's work, they were probably cowed into silence, or kept out of the press by Pasteur's bully-ragging tactics, as well as by his prestige, not only in the public eye and with royalty, but also with the "academies and public bodies”, as referred by Dr Hume Lateud.  Miss Hume goes on to show that his treatment for rabies and his anthrax serum were the same colossal failure and fraud, as will be shown in Chapter Eight of her book.  She discusses other plagiarisms on Pasteur's part, but it hardly seems necessary to go into all of these matters here.  We have seen enough evidence of incompetence and fraud to forever doubt any further statements that bear his signature, but there is one more piece of work that is worth looking into.


Technique of "Pasteurization": Emperor Napoleon III asked Pasteur to investigate the diseases afflicting wine, which were causing considerable economic losses to the wine industry.  Pasteur went to a vineyard in Arbois in 1864 to study this problem.  He demonstrated that wine diseases are caused by microorganisms that can be killed by heating the wine to 55deg.C for several minutes.  Applied to beer and milk, this process, called "pasteurization", soon came into use throughout the world.


Pasteurization:  Pasteurization, process of heating a liquid, particularly milk, to a temperature between 55° and 70° C (131° and 158° F), to destroy harmful bacteria without materially changing the composition, flavor, or nutritive value of the liquid.  The process is named after the French chemist Louis Pasteur, who devised it in 1865 to inhibit fermentation of wine and milk. Milk is pasteurized by heating at a temperature of 63° C (145° F) for 30 minutes, rapidly cooling it, and then storing it at a temperature below 10° C (50° F).  Beer and wine are pasteurized by being heated at about 60° C (140° F) for about 20 minutes; a newer method involves heating at 70° C (158° F) for about 30 seconds and filling the container under sterile conditions.


Yeast: Yeast, any of a number of microscopic, one-celled fungi important for their ability to ferment carbohydrates in various substances (see Fermentation).  Yeasts in general are widespread in nature, occurring in the soil and on plants.


Yeasts have been used since prehistoric times in the making of breads and wines, but their cultivation and use in large quantities was put on a scientific basis by the work of the French microbiologist Louis Pasteur in the 19th century.  Today they are used industrially in a wide range of fermentation processes; medicinally, as a source of B-complex vitamins and thiamine (see Vitamin) and as a stage in the production of various antibiotics and steroid hormones; and as feed and foodstuffs.


Pure yeast cultures are grown in a medium of sugars, nitrogen sources, minerals, and water.  The final product may take the form of dried yeast cells, or the yeast may be pressed into cakes with some starchy material.  When a batch of yeast for baking, medicinal, or food purposes is completed, the medium in which the yeast was grown is discarded.  In the making of wines, beers, spirits, and industrial alcohol, however, the fermented medium is the desired product, and the yeast itself is discarded or used to make animal feeds. See Bread; Brewing; Wine.


Beer Brewing Process:  Industrial beer brewing begins with malted grain, which is passed through a milling machine (1) to crack the dried kernels and grind them into a coarse powder.  The cracked malt is then steeped with hot water in a large, stainless steel vat called a mash tun (2), to produce a thick, sweet liquid called wort.  The wort is boiled, or brewed, for up to two hours in a large kettle (3).  After it is cooled, the wort is then transferred to a fermentation tank (4) where yeasts slowly convert the grain sugar to alcohol.  The liquid, now beer, may then be passed through a filter (5) to remove the yeast residue. The wort is pumped into a large conditioning tank to age (6), where it undergoes another fermentation.  During aging, the beer becomes naturally carbonated. Some brewers elect to filter the beer again after aging.  The finished beer is then mechanically bottled, and may be pasteurized (7) to kill any of the remaining yeast and any other microorganisms.


End Product-Beer:  After aging, the beer may appear somewhat cloudy from yeast cells and other particles that remain suspended in the liquid.  The most common method of removing these impurities is filtration, a process in which the finished beer is pumped, under pressure, through a sterile filtering system that traps nearly all of the suspended particles from the liquid, resulting in a clear liquid.  Even after filtration, however, some yeast may remain in the beer.  To kill the remaining yeast, the beer is pasteurized, or heated to 82° C (180° F) after it has been sealed in cans or bottles.  Draught beer, which is stored in metal kegs, usually is not pasteurized and must be kept refrigerated to prevent it from spoiling.  Some brewers and beer drinkers believe that filtering and pasteurizing beer robs it of much of its original flavor and character.


Alcoholic Fermentation:  Alcoholic fermentation is undoubtedly the oldest known enzyme reaction.  This and similar phenomena were believed to be spontaneous reactions until 1857, when the French chemist Louis Pasteur proved that fermentation occurs only in the presence of living cells (see Spontaneous Generation).  Subsequently, however, the German chemist Eduard Buchner discovered (1897) that a cell-free extract of yeast could cause alcoholic fermentation.  The ancient puzzle was then solved; the yeast cell produces the enzyme, and the enzyme brings about the fermentation. 


As early as 1783 the Italian biologist Lazzaro Spallanzani had observed that meat could be digested by gastric juices extracted from hawks.  This experiment was probably the first in which a vital reaction was performed outside the living organism.  After Buchner's discovery scientists assumed enzymes in general caused that fermentations and vital reactions. Nevertheless, all attempts to isolate and identify their chemical nature were unsuccessful. In 1926, however, the American biochemist James B. Sumner succeeded in isolating and crystallizing urease.  Four years later pepsin and trypsin were isolated and crystallized by the American biochemist John H. Northrop.  Enzymes were found to be proteins, and Northrop proved that the protein was actually the enzyme and not simply a carrier for another compound.


Tartaric Acid: Tartaric Acid, also dihydroxy-succinic acid, organic acid of formula C4H6O6, found in many plants and known to the early Greeks and Romans as tartar, the acid potassium salt derived as a deposit from fermented grape juice.  The acid was first isolated in 1769 by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele, who boiled tartar with chalk and decomposed the product with sulfuric acid.  Fermentation of the juices of grapes, tamarinds, pineapples, and mulberries produces, on the inner surface of the container, a white crust of potassium acid tart rate known as argol, or lees.  Argol, boiled with dilute hydrochloric acid, precipitates as calcium tart rate when calcium hydroxide is added. 


Upon the addition of dilute sulfuric acid, dextrotartaric acid is liberated, which rotates the plane of polarized light to the right (see Optics).  Dextrotartaric acid has a melting point of 170° C (338° F) and is extremely soluble in water and alcohol and insoluble in ether.

Another variety, called levotartaric acid, is identical to dextrotartaric acid except that it rotates the plane of polarized light to the left.  This acid was first prepared from its sodium ammonium salt by the French chemist Louis Pasteur.  Tartaric acid synthesized in the laboratory is a mixture of equal amounts of the dextrose and levo acids, and this mixture, called also racemic tartaric acid, does not affect the plane of polarized light.  A fourth variety, mesotartaric acid, also without effect on the plane of polarized light, is said to be internally compensated.


Tartaric acid, in either the dextrorotary or racemic form, is used as a flavoring in foods and beverages.  It is used also in photography, in tanning, and as sodium potassium tart rate, also known as Rochelle salt, as a mild laxative.


Pasteurization at High Temperatures:  Pasteurization involves heating foods to a certain temperature for a specific time to kill harmful microorganisms.  Milk, wine, beer, and fruit juices are all routinely pasteurized.  Milk, for example, is usually heated to 63° C (145° F) for 30 minutes.  Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) pasteurization, a relatively new technique, is used to sterilize foods for aseptic packaging.  In UHT pasteurization, foods are heated to 138° C (280° F) for 2 to 4 seconds, allowing the food to retain more nutrients and better flavor.


Pasteurization Techniques Led to the Making of Ice Cream:  The U.S. ice-cream manufacturing industry began in 1851.  Early production methods consisted of placing the ingredients in a metal container, surrounded by a freezing mixture of ice and coarse salt, and mixing them until smooth.  In modern plants the basic ingredients, plus gelatin, used as a stabilizer to give the product a smooth consistency, are poured into a tank, where they are mixed and pasteurized.  The mixture is then homogenized to break up particles of butterfat, cooled, piped to a freezing tank, and beaten until smooth; at this stage nuts or fruits are sometimes added.  The ice cream emerges from the freezing tank partially frozen and is packed into containers that are stored in a refrigerated room until hard. Several forms of ice cream are made. 


French ice cream is ice cream enriched with egg yolks; parfait and mousse are ice-cream preparations that have not been beaten during the freezing process; biscuit tortoni is a rich ice cream sprinkled with powdered almonds or macaroons; and spumoni is a mousse like ice cream to which fruits and nuts have been added. Soft ice cream, made of the same ingredients as ordinary ice cream, is sold as it comes from the freezer before hardening.  Ice milk, made from milk with four percent butterfat, is also sold before hardening.  Frozen custard—soft ice cream with eggs added—is cooked to a custard before freezing.


Scientific Discoveries



Chicken Cholera: Pasteur's later work on diseases included work on chicken cholera. During this work, a culture of the responsible bacteria had spoiled and failed to induce the disease in some chickens he was infecting with the disease.  Upon reusing these healthy chickens, Pasteur discovered that he could not infect them, even with fresh bacteria; the weakened bacteria had caused the chickens to become immune to the disease, although they had not actually caused the disease.  This discovery was an accident.  His assistant Charles Chamberland had been instructed to inoculate the chickens after Pasteur went on holiday.  Chamberland failed to do this, but instead went on holiday himself.  On his return, the month old cultures made the chickens unwell, but instead of the infection being fatal, as usual, the chickens recovered completely.


Chamberland assumed an error had been made, and wanted to discard the apparently faulty culture out when Pasteur stopped him.  Pasteur guessed the recovered animals now might be immune to the disease, as were the animals at Eure-et-Loir that had recovered from anthrax.  In the 1870s, he applied this immunization method to anthrax, which affected cattle, and aroused interest in combating other diseases.


Pasteur publicly claimed he had made the anthrax vaccine by exposing the bacillus to oxygen.  His laboratory notebooks, now in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, in fact show Pasteur used the method of rival Jean-Joseph-Henri Toussaint, a Toulouse veterinary surgeon, to create the anthrax vaccine.  This method used the oxidizing agent potassium dichromate.  Pasteur's oxygen method did eventually produce a vaccine but only after he had been awarded a patent on the production of an anthrax vaccine.


The notion of a weak form of a disease causing immunity to the virulent version was not new; this had been known for a long time for smallpox.  Inoculation with smallpox was known to result in far less scarring, and greatly reduced mortality, in comparison to the naturally acquired disease.  Edward Jenner had also discovered vaccination, using cowpox to give cross-immunity to smallpox, and by Pasteur's time this had generally replaced the use of actual smallpox material in inoculation.


The difference with chicken cholera and anthrax was that the weakened form of the disease organism had been generated artificially, and so a naturally weak form of the disease organism did not need to be found.  This discovery revolutionized work in infectious diseases, and Pasteur gave these artificially weakened diseases the generic name of vaccines, to honor Jenner's discovery. Pasteur produced the first vaccine for rabies by growing the virus in rabbits, and then weakening it by drying the affected nerve tissue.


The rabies vaccine was initially created by Emile Roux, a French doctor and a colleague of Pasteur who had been working with a killed vaccine produced by desiccating the spinal cords of infected rabbits.  The vaccine had only been tested on eleven dogs before its first human trial.


This vaccine was first used on 9-year old Joseph Meister, on July 6, 1885, after the boy was badly mauled by a rabid dog.  This was done at some personal risk for Pasteur, since he was not a licensed physician and could have faced prosecution for treating the boy. Fortunately, the treatment proved to be a spectacular success, with Meister avoiding the disease; thus, Pasteur was hailed as a hero and the legal matter was not pursued.  The treatment's success laid the foundations for the manufacture of many other vaccines.

The first of the Pasteur Institutes was also built on the basis of this achievement.


Silkworm studies: In 1865, Pasteur was summoned from Paris, where he had become administrator and director of scientific studies at the École Normale, to come to the aid of the silk industry in southern France. T he country’s enormous production of silk had suddenly been curtailed because a disease of silkworms, known as pébrine, had reached epidemic proportions.  Suspecting that certain microscopic objects found in the diseased silkworms (and in the moths and their eggs) were disease-producing organisms, Pasteur experimented with controlled breeding and proved that pébrine was not only contagious but also hereditary.  He concluded that only in diseased and living eggs was the cause of the disease maintained; therefore, selection of disease-free eggs was the solution.  By adopting this method of selection, the silk industry was saved from disaster.


Germ Theory of Disease:  Pasteur’s work on fermentation and spontaneous generation had considerable implications for medicine, because he believed that the origin and development of disease are analogous to the origin and process of fermentation.  That is, disease arises from germs attacking the body from outside, just as unwanted microorganisms invade milk and cause fermentation.  This concept, called the germ theory of disease, was strongly debated by physicians and scientists around the world. One of the main arguments against it was the contention that the role germs played during the course of disease was secondary and unimportant; the notion that tiny organisms could kill vastly larger ones seemed ridiculous to many people.  Pasteur’s studies convinced him that he was right; however, and in the course of his career he extended the germ theory to explain the causes of many diseases.


History of Anthrax:  One of the oldest known diseases, anthrax was once epidemic and still appears in many areas of the world.  It was the first infectious disease for which scientists isolated the causative organism.  French parasitologist C. J. Davaine first saw the rod-shaped organisms under a microscope in the blood of infected sheep in 1850. German bacteriologist Robert Koch demonstrated in 1876 that the disease occurred when spores of Bacillus anthracis were injected into mice.  French biologist Louis Pasteur also demonstrated that the bacteria caused the disease and in 1881 developed an effective vaccine against anthrax in animals.


Anthrax Research:  Pasteur also determined the natural history of anthrax, a fatal disease of cattle.  He proved that anthrax is caused by a particular bacillus and suggested that animals could be given anthrax in a mild form by vaccinating them with attenuated (weakened) bacilli, thus providing immunity from potentially fatal attacks.  In order to prove his theory, Pasteur began by inoculating 25 sheep; a few days later he inoculated these and 25 more sheep with an especially strong inoculants, and he left 10 sheep untreated.  He predicted that the second 25 sheep would all perish and concluded the experiment dramatically by showing, to a skeptical crowd, the carcasses of the 25 sheep lying side by side.


Anthrax, disease of warm-blooded animals, including humans, caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.  Anthrax most commonly occurs in cattle and other plant-eating mammals, but it can also affect humans who come in contact with infected animals.  The disease is not considered contagious, however, and person-to-person spread of the disease is highly unlikely.  Vaccines can protect against anthrax, and antibiotics can treat the disease in its early stages.


Anthrax is a spore-forming bacterium.  The spores have protective coats and can withstand extreme heat, drought, and other harsh conditions.  They can live for centuries in soil.  Anthrax spores also have the potential for use in biological warfare because of their ability to survive and because they spread easily in air and can be inhaled.  Once the spores are inside the lungs, the bacteria develop and begin to multiply (see Chemical and Biological Warfare).


Anthrax in Animals:  Animals can acquire anthrax from drinking water that has drained from soil contaminated with the bacteria, from eating infected carcasses and feedstuffs, and from the bites of bloodsucking insects.  The disease, sometimes manifested by staggering, bloody discharge, convulsions, and suffocation, may be fatal almost immediately.  Death is caused by toxemia (poisoning).  The disease can be prevented by immunization, and in animals that have not been vaccinated; it can be treated with antibiotics.  Anthrax is more common in agricultural regions of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America than in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe.

Anthrax in Humans:  In humans, the disease can appear in three forms: cutaneous, inhalation, and gastrointestinal.  The cutaneous, or external form primarily involves the skin and is contracted mainly by those who handle contaminated hides, wool, or carcasses.  The bacteria enter through a cut or other opening in the skin, and a dark, itchy bump that resembles an insect bite appears.  The bump then develops into an open sore with a black area in the center.  The cutaneous form of anthrax can be treated with antimicrobial drugs.  Death results in about 20 percent of untreated cases.  Veterinarians, mill workers, laboratory researchers, and other people at risk of exposure to anthrax are generally vaccinated against the disease.


Humans contract internal forms of anthrax by inhaling anthrax spores or by eating contaminated meat.  People who work with animal hair and wool are most likely to inhale the spores, especially in areas where anthrax occurs in animals.  Symptoms of inhaled anthrax initially resemble those of a cold or the flu—general aches and pains, fever, fatigue, cough, and mild chest pain.  Inhaled anthrax is fatal unless the infected person has been vaccinated or antibiotics are administered soon after inhalation.  Ciprofloxacin, penicillin, and other antibiotics are effective treatments, except in rapidly progressing cases.


The gastrointestinal form of anthrax results from eating contaminated meat.  Its symptoms are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and severe diarrhea.  The disease can be fatal in 20 percent to 60 percent of cases.


Anthrax Breakout in Russia: The worst outbreak of anthrax occurred in 1979, when a biological weapons plant in Sverdlovsk, Russia (present-day Yekaterinburg), accidentally released airborne anthrax spores, killing 66 people.  In 1998 American scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory used newly developed techniques to determine that the spores released in the accident contained at least four different strains of anthrax.  This raised concerns that Russia, and possibly other countries, was working on a vaccine-resistant form of anthrax for use as a biological weapon.


Gulf War Anthrax Vaccination: During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, about 150,000 members of the armed services were vaccinated against anthrax because of fears that Iraq had been developing biological weapons.  The United States Department of Defense later approved a program to vaccinate members of the armed forces stationed in the Middle East.  Cases of inhaled anthrax were reported in several states in the United States in 2001.  The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation quickly became involved in investigating the cause of these cases because they followed closely after terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.




Rabies Vaccine:  In 1885 Louis Pasteur created the first successful vaccine against rabies for a young boy who had been bitten 14 times by a rabid dog.  Over the course of ten days, Pasteur injected progressively more virulent rabies organisms into the boy, causing the boy to develop immunity in time to avert death from this disease.


Pasteur spent the rest of his life working on the causes of various diseases—including septicemia, cholera, diphtheria, fowl cholera, tuberculosis, and smallpox—and their prevention by means of vaccination.  He is best known for his investigations concerning the prevention of rabies, otherwise known in humans as hydrophobia.  After experimenting with the saliva of animals suffering from this disease, Pasteur concluded that the disease rests in the nerve centers of the body; when an extract from the spinal column of a rabid dog was injected into the bodies of healthy animals, symptoms of rabies were produced.  By studying the tissues of infected animals, particularly rabbits, Pasteur was able to develop an attenuated form of the virus that could be used for inoculation.


In 1885, a young boy and his mother arrived at Pasteur’s laboratory; the boy had been bitten badly by a rabid dog, and Pasteur was urged to treat him with his new method.  At the end of the treatment, which lasted ten days, the boy was being inoculated with the most potent rabies virus known; he recovered and remained healthy.  Since that time, thousands of people have been saved from rabies by this treatment.


Pasteur’s research on rabies resulted, in 1888, in the founding of a special institute in Paris for the treatment of the disease.  This became known as the Institut Pasteur, and Pasteur himself directed it until he died.  (The institute still flourishes and is one of the most important centers in the world for the study of infectious diseases and other subjects related to microorganisms, including molecular genetics.)  By the time of his death in Saint Cloud on September 28, 1895, Pasteur had long since become a national hero and had been honored in many ways.  He was given a state funeral at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and his body was placed in a permanent crypt in his institute.


Rabies Transmission: Among diseases transmitted from animals to humans, rabies continued to present the most serious health problem, with 13 percent of laboratory-confirmed cases of rabies in the United States occurring in domestic animals.  A recently developed vaccine produced in cultured human cells has been shown to produce far fewer side effects and to require fewer treatments than the traditional Pasteur vaccine.


Prevention and Treatment of Rabies: Rabies is described in medical writings dating from 300 BC, but the method of transmission or contagion was not recognized until 1804. In 1884 the French bacteriologist Louis Pasteur developed a preventive vaccine against rabies, and modifications of Pasteur's methods are still used in rabies therapy today.  The Pasteur program, or variations of it, has greatly reduced the fatalities in humans from rabies.  Modern treatment, following a bite by a rabid or presumed rabid animal, consists of immediate and thorough cleansing of the bite wound and injection into the wound and elsewhere of hyper immune anti rabies serum.  A 14- to 30-day course of daily injections of rabies vaccine is then given; booster doses are given 10 days after this course and again 20 days later.  The traditional vaccine contains inactivated rabies virus grown in duck eggs.  A newer vaccine, which contains virus prepared from human cells grown in the laboratory, is safer and requires a shorter course of injections.


Improving Pasteur treatment:  Efforts were being made to improve the Pasteur treatment.  An anti-rabies serum prepared from horses and rabbits seemed particularly suited for patients with severe bites about the head and neck.  The number of human patients treated with this new anti-rabies serum was not yet large enough to draw definite conclusions.  Solution of the problem of rabies in humans continued to remain in the hope of its complete eradication in animals.


Immune Systems Fight the Diseases:  Eighty years later, Louis Pasteur discovered the scientific principle behind vaccines.  Again, luck played a part. Pasteur accidentally left a culture of chicken-cholera bacteria out on a shelf.  Two weeks later, returning from vacation, he injected the culture into several laboratory animals. The animals did not develop the disease.  But they became immune.  Accident led to insight.  Pasteur realized that he had weakened the bacteria in the culture just enough, and in just the right way, that they lost the power to cause disease but retained the power to confer immunity.  Later researchers tried a variety of ways to weaken viruses and bacteria.  They dried them, heated them, and broke them up into pieces.  Sometimes the treated organisms lost their power to cause not only the disease but immunity to the disease as well.  At other times they remained strong enough to engender full-scale illness. 


In 1885 Pasteur developed a vaccine against rabies, but it was not until 1925 that researchers were able to create a reliable diphtheria vaccine.  Another 12 years went by before the development of a vaccine against yellow fever.  More recent are the combined diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) vaccine and vaccines against polio, mumps, and hepatitis B.  But today we may be on the verge of a new era in the creation of vaccines.


Immunization: In the 19th century the study of microorganisms became increasingly important, particularly after French biologist Louis Pasteur revolutionized medicine by correctly deducing that some microorganisms are involved in disease.  In the 1880s Pasteur devised methods of immunizing people against diseases by deliberately treating them with weakened forms of the disease-causing organisms themselves.  Pasteur’s vaccine against rabies was a milestone in the field of immunization, one of the most effective forms of preventive medicine the world has yet seen.  In the area of industrial science, Pasteur invented the process of pasteurization to help prevent the spread of disease through milk and other foods.


Immunization, also called vaccination or inoculation, a method of stimulating resistance in the human body to specific diseases using microorganisms—bacteria or viruses—that have been modified or killed.  These treated microorganisms do not cause the disease, but rather trigger the body's immune system to build a defense mechanism that continuously guards against the disease.  If a person immunized against a particular disease later comes into contact with the disease-causing agent, the immune system is immediately able to respond defensively. 


Immunization has dramatically reduced the incidence of a number of deadly diseases.  For example, a worldwide vaccination program resulted in the global eradication of smallpox in 1980, and in most developed countries immunization has essentially eliminated diphtheria, poliomyelitis, and neonatal tetanus.  The number of cases of Haemophilus influenzae type b meningitis in the United States has dropped 95 percent among infants and children since 1988, when the vaccine for that disease was first introduced.  In the United States, more than 90 percent of children receive all the recommended vaccinations by their second birthday. About 85 percent of Canadian children are immunized by age two.


Other Inventions


Surgery:  Post-surgical infections remained a serious complication of surgery until the mid-19th century when the French chemist Louis Pasteur discovered that fermentation or putrefaction, the decay and death of body tissue, is caused by bacteria in the air.  In 1865 the British surgeon Joseph Lister applied Pasteur’s work to surgery, developing antiseptic (germ-killing) techniques including the use of a carbolic acid spray to kill germs in the operating room before surgery.  These antiseptic procedures helped eliminate postoperative infection.


Carbolic Steam Spray:  Drawing on the theories and discoveries of Louis Pasteur, Lister developed his own techniques of applying carbolic acid directly to wounds and surgical instruments, which led to the modern practice of antiseptic medicine.  The carbolic steam spray device invented by Joseph Lister in 1865 is credited with lowering the surgical mortality rate of the 1860s from 50 percent to approximately 12 percent.

Proteins in Cancer Cells:  Recently, however, Drs. Kogl and Erxleben of Holland published some interesting studies on the proteins of the cancer cell.  They found that some of the amino-acids which form the skeleton of the protein molecule turn the plane of polarized light to the right instead of to the left as does the ordinary type of amino-acid in healthy tissues.  Their analyses have shown that a considerable proportion of the amino acids derived from the cancer cell protein may be of the type, which rotates the plane of polarization to the right.  This phenomenon, they think, may explain why the cancer cell is not destroyed in the body when a normal cell out of place would be; and they point out that many substances exist in nature, which contain both the right-turning and left-turning capacity. 


In fact, it was the great Pasteur whose first fame was based upon his picking out by hand crystals of tartaric acid, some of which had a left-sided face and others a right-sided face, thus proving that ordinary tartaric acid, which does not rotate, can be divided into one which rotates to the right and another, to the left.  It has long been known that some ferments act more readily on the left-rotating amino-acids of the proteins and that other forms will not act on the right-turning variety. 


Hence Kogl and his co-workers think that this may explain why the cancer cell enjoys certain immunity. A number of investigators have challenged the correctness of Kogl's work and, therefore, of his theories, but so far he has successfully defended himself.  It will take years of labor in laboratories throughout the world to decide this question.  In the meantime reliance will have to be placed upon the standard methods for the treatment of cancer by surgery and radiation.


Undulant Fever Controlled by Pasteurization:  Undulant Fever, also known as brucellosis, infectious disease caused by various species of bacteria of the genus Brucella, transmitted to humans from lower animals, especially cattle, hogs, and goats. Human beings acquire the disease through contact with infected animals or by drinking their raw milk.  The disease has been known as Malta fever, Bang's disease, Mediterranean fever, Rock fever, and goat fever.  In animals the disease generally can cause partial sterility, decreased milk supply, and abortion of a fetus.  Undulant fever assumes acute and chronic forms in humans.  The acute form is characterized by weakness, chills, and high night fevers and often results in central nervous system disorders, painful joints, and miscarriage.


Chronic undulant fever is difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms are exceedingly varied and vague.  Common to almost all cases, however, are remittent fevers and disorders of the central nervous system.  A diagnostic blood agglutination test is available.  As a rule human beings suffering from undulant fever respond favorably to the administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics.  The pasteurization of milk is essential to the control of undulant fever.  In addition, the development in the 1950s of a vaccine called Strain 19, with which calves can be inoculated against the disease, has reduced greatly the incidence of bovine undulant fever in the U.S.


The British physician and pathologist Sir David Bruce discovered the organism causing the disease in 1887.


Floating Zoo:  Well over a century ago, in the 1860s, Louis Pasteur proved that food rotted because ubiquitous “organized corpuscles” in the air quickly colonized any organic matter that wasn't sealed off.  Decades of experiments through the middle of this century showed that diseases like TB, polio, measles, pneumonic plague, diphtheria, and flu move through the air from host to host.  But time and again, drugs and vaccines were so effective in halting the spread of these diseases that aerobiology was pushed to medicine's back burner.  If you can fight germs once they reach human bodies, why worry about how they get there?


Streptomycin:  Penicillin was by no means the first antibiotic.  In 1877, Pasteur and Joubert discovered that certain bacteria possess properties, which inhibit the growth of anthrax and suggested antibiosis as a practical means for combating certain infections.  In 1899, Emmerich and Loew noted that pyocyanase, produced by Bacillus pyocyaneus, inhibited the growth of the organisms causing diphtheria, cholera, anthrax, typhoid fever and plague.  They had no success, however, with these preparations in the cure of patients and the interest in antibiosis lagged until Fleming's report on penicillin.  Since that time there have been many attempts to demonstrate other antibiotics. 


Dubos, in 1939, thought that it might be possible to find in soil a bacterium, which would destroy pathogenic organisms.  He added pneumococci, staphylococci and streptococci to soil for a period of time on the theory that, if an organism were presented which would kill these pathogenic bacteria it would grow.  After an interval of adding pneumococci to soil, he found that an agent was present in the soil, which killed the pneumococci.  The organism producing this agent was finally shown to be B. brevis.  He called the agent tyrothricin, which was later shown to be a mixture of two agents, tyrocidine and gramicidin.  The latter is the more effective agent. 


Unfortunately, gramicidin is toxic when given by vein, which has confined its use to local application.  Waksman at Rutgers University in New Jersey started a search for an agent, which might supplement the action of penicillin.  The latter is not effective on the Gram-negative group of bacteria; that is, such organisms as those that cause typhoid fever and salmonella infection.  He placed mud, humus, and so forth, upon cultures of various Gram-negative bacteria, noting carefully areas in which the bacteria were inhibited in their growth.  He has demonstrated many chemical agents, which are active against bacteria, some of which, for example streptothrycin, are very toxic.


Nitrogen Fixation:  French chemist Louis Pasteur recognized in the 1800s that soil microbes are essential to life; they are the primary force for fracturing tough molecules of atmospheric nitrogen and making it available for plants.  These bacteria, often of the genus Rhizobium, live in the roots of plants, principally legumes.  Agriculturists have sought to extend this process to other crops and thus reduce our dependence on chemical fertilizers that pollute the environment.  It has proved a challenge.


First Antibiotic:  The first observation of what would now be called an antibiotic effect was made in the 19th century by French chemist Louis Pasteur, who discovered that certain saprophytic bacteria could kill anthrax bacilli.


Polio Discovery:  Louis Pasteur did the foundation of the Polio Vaccine.  Polio was first recognized as a virus disease in 1908.  Indeed, the possibility of virus disease was not known until 1892 when a Russian investigator, Iwanowski, first identified "filterable viruses."  They were so named because they passed through porcelain filters that strained out the much larger germs or bacteria that Louis Pasteur had shown in the 1860's to be the cause of many kinds of communicable diseases.


Spontaneous Generation:  Spontaneous Generation, or abiogenesis, ancient theory holding that certain lower forms of life, especially the insects, reproduce by physicochemical agencies from inorganic substances.  This view went uncontradicted until after the middle of the 17th century, when the Italian physician and poet Francesco Redi disproved (1668) the prevailing notion that the maggots of flies were generated in putrefying meat exposed to air.  In 1768, the Italian naturalist Lazzaro Spallanzani further showed that microorganism-containing solutions that were boiled and then sealed off would remain free of microorganisms thereafter; and in 1836 the German naturalist Theodor Schwann provided additional proof with still more meticulous experiments of this nature.


The next step was taken by the French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur, who summarized his findings in, On the Organized Particles Existing in the Air, (1862).  On sowing these particles in suitable sterilized nutrient broths, he found that after a day or two the broth teemed with living microorganisms.  Organisms such as these were shown by the German botanist Ferdinand Julius Cohn to be plants (a classification that held until the 19th century), and he named them bacteria.  Finally, the British physicist John Tyndall showed (1869), by passing a beam of light through the air in a box, that whenever dust was present putrefaction eventually occurred, when dust was absent, putrefaction did not occur.  These experiments resulted in the demise of the theory of spontaneous generation.


Other Scientists Linked to Pasteur's Research, Achievements, and Inventions: The Scientists listed below in a chronological order have used Louis Pasteur's work as a point of departure for their scientific research except Fracastoro.  Jenner discovered the vaccine against smallpox and three quarters of a century later, the French chemist Louis Pasteur, drawing on Jenner's work, set the course for the science of immunology and the discovery of modern preventive vaccines.  Pasteur's method of immunization was effective and was employed by many other physicians, eventually leading to the eradication of typhus and polio as threats. 


Pasteurization led to the elimination of contaminated milk and other drinks as sources of disease.  In fact, Pasteur inaugurated the modern age of medicine, leading to an increase in the human life span and a surprising population explosion. Accordingly, he has been hailed as the "Father of Medicine" and a "Benefactor of Humanity."

Yet Pasteur in his 1857 memoirs still clings to the idea that both the moulds and ferments "take birth spontaneously," although his solutions all contained dead yeast or yeast broth that might have carried germs or ferments from the start.  He does conclude that the ferment is a living being, yet states that this "cannot be irrefutably demonstrated."


Professor Beauchamp understood the formation and growth of moulds and ferments in 1857, years before Pasteur comprehended these physiological processes!  In 1859, over a year after Beauchamp's paper covering his 1857 experiments was printed, Pasteur started another experiment more in line with Beauchamp's ideas, in fact apparently inspired by them.


Beauchamp Accused Pasteur of Plagiarism:  In a discussion of spontaneous generation at the Sorbonne during a meeting on November 22, 1861, Pasteur had the nerve to claim, in the presence of Professor Beauchamp, all credit for the proof that living organisms appeared in a medium devoid of albuminoidal matter!  Beauchamp asked him to admit knowledge of Beauchamp's 1857 work, but did not charge him with plagiarism, and Pasteur evaded the question, merely admitting that Beauchamp's work was "rigidly exact".  This was not an accident, but deliberate premeditated fraud; however, Beauchamp was too much of a gentleman to make any unpleasant charges.


It took several more years to get the spontaneous generation idea entirely out of Pasteur's head is indicated by the article on Pasteur in the 14th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, which says: "The recognition of the fact that both lactic and alcohol fermentation were hastened by exposure to air naturally led Pasteur to wonder whether his invisible organisms were always present in the atmosphere or whether they were spontaneously generated.  By a series of intricate experiments, including the filtration of air and the famous exposure of unfermented liquids to the pure air of the high Alps, he was able to declare with certainty in 1864 that the minute organisms causing fermentation were not spontaneously generated but came from similar organisms with which ordinary air was impregnated." 


Here it is again - not until 1864 did he give up his idea of spontaneous generation - and the high Alps stuff was only high theatre, well advertised in advance, to enable him to grab Beauchamp's discovery, and yet have some 'new stuff' to attract attention to himself.  Of course, he could not follow exactly the same methods; some one might bring up Beauchamp's memoirs, hence the "high Alps" and "slithering on glaciers".


Completion of the High Alps Experiment:  However, Pasteur had, on completion of his "high Alps" experiment in 1860, accepted, or began to accept the idea that germs of the air caused fermentation; and soon he leaped way ahead to the conclusion that these germs also caused disease, as Plenciz had suggested about a hundred years before!


Father of Epidemiology:  Fracastoro, Girolamo (1478?-1553), Italian physician, scientist, author, and poet.  His early observations on the nature and spread of infectious disease led to his recognition as the father of scientific epidemiology, the study of the incidence of disease and the influence of environmental factors on disease patterns.  His most famous work was the narrative poem Syphilis sive morbus Gallicus (1530, ), which described a new sexually transmitted disease, now called syphilis, and its treatment.


Jenner, Edward:  Jenner, Edward (1749-1823), British physician, who discovered the vaccine that is used against smallpox and laid the groundwork for the science of immunology.  Three-quarters of a century later, the French chemist Louis Pasteur, drawing on Jenner's work, set the course for the science of immunology and the discovery of modern preventive vaccines.


Virchow, Rudolf:  Virchow, Rudolf (1821-1902), German pathologist, archaeologist, and anthropologist, the founder of cellular pathology.  Virchow was the first to demonstrate that the cell theory applies to diseased tissue as well as to healthy tissue—that is, that diseased cells derive from the healthy cells of normal tissue.


Lister, Joseph, 1st Baron Lister (1827-1912), British surgeon, whose discovery of antiseptics in 1865 greatly reduced the number of deaths due to operating-room infections.  In 1861 he was appointed surgeon of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in a new surgery unit designed to reduce gangrene and other infections, then thought to be caused by bad air.  In 1865 he came upon the germ theory of the French bacteriologist Louis Pasteur, whose experiments revealed that fermentation and putrefaction were caused by microorganisms brought in contact with organic material.  By applying carbolic acid to instruments and directly to wounds and dressings, Lister reduced surgical mortality to nearly 12 percent by 1869.


Berthelot, Pierre-Eugène-Marcelin:  Berthelot, Pierre-Eugène-Marcelin (1827-1907), French chemist and government official, whose work greatly influenced chemistry and chemical education in the late 19th century.  He received his doctorate there in 1854, presenting a thesis that established the structure and synthesis of fats (see Fats and Oils), the constitution of glycerin, and the nature of polyhydric alcohols.  In 1856 he synthesized methane, the first of the hydrocarbons to be prepared in the laboratory from its elements.


Friedel, Charles:  Friedel, Charles (1832-1899), French chemist and mineralogist who co-discovered an important chemical process called the Friedel-Crafts reaction.  In 1877, after collaborating with American chemist James Mason Crafts, Friedel developed a method for the synthesis of benzene homologues, later called the Friedel-Crafts reaction. Friedel also discovered binary and tertiary alcohols in 1862 and organic silicon compounds in 1863.  In 1871, he synthesized glycerin from propylene in collaboration with Portuguese chemist R. D. da Silva. From 1879 to 1887, Friedel attempted to find a process to manufacture minerals artificially and later tried to synthesize diamonds.


Chardonnet, Comte de:  Chardonnet, Comte de (1839-1924), French inventor of a process for making artificial silk. Pasteur was studying the diseases of the silkworm.

Chardonnet later spent many years studying the life and habits of the silkworm as well as the chemical makeup of the leaves and bark of mulberry trees


Laveran, Charles Louis Alphonse (1845-1922), French physician and Nobel laureate, born in Paris, and educated at the School of Military Medicine at Strasbourg.  As a member of the staff of the Val-de-Grâce military school of medicine he was sent to Algeria in 1878 to study malaria. In 1880 he discovered a malarial parasite in human red blood cells.


Metchnikoff, Élie:  Metchnikoff, Élie (1845-1916), Russian biologist and Nobel laureate, a founder of the science of immunity.  His early studies were devoted to the process of intracellular digestion in invertebrates.  He later established the destructive effect of certain white blood cells, which he called phagocytes, on harmful materials in the bloodstream, and in 1884 he announced his theory of phagocytosis, which formed a basis for the theory of immunity.  Metchnikoff also advocated consumption of lactic acid bacteria for the prevention and remedy of intestinal putrefaction.


Pierre Jacques Antoine Beauchamp:  Professor Pierre Jacques Antoine Beauchamp, one of France's greatest scientists, then Professor at the School of Pharmacy in the Faculty of Science at Strasbourg, later (1857-75) Professor of Medical Chemistry and Pharmacy at the University of Montpelier, a member of many scientific societies, and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, took up the study of fermentation.  He had succeeded in 1852 in so reducing the cost of producing aniline as to make it a commercial success, and his formula became the basis of the German dye industry; convert sugar cane into real sugar, and he was involved in other experiments in microorganisms, bringing him  some fame, and many more problems to solve.


Nicolle, Charles Jules Henri:  Nicolle, Charles Jules Henri (1866-1936), French physician and microbiologist, who demonstrated that typhus was transmitted by the body louse.


Lazear, Jesse William:  Lazear, Jesse William (1866-1900), American bacteriologist and army surgeon, known for his studies of the malarial parasite.  He also studied at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.  In 1895 Lazear was appointed to the medical staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he became one of the first scientists in the United States to study the structure of the malarial parasite and the first in the U.S. to isolate the bacteria known as Neisser's diplococcus from circulating blood.  In September 1900, in order to aid his research, he permitted himself to be bitten by an Aëdes mosquito, a primary transmitter of yellow fever.  He contracted the disease and died at Quemados Hospital.


Funk, Casimir:  Funk, Casimir (1884-1967), Polish-born American biochemist, one of the first scientists to document the importance of vitamins.  The word vitamin comes from vitamine, the term coined by Funk early in his research for the then-unknown substance in food that prevents vitamin-deficiency diseases such as beriberi, rickets, and scurvy.


Lwoff, Andre Michel:  Lwoff, Andre Michel (1902-1994), French microbiologist and winner of the 1965 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, which he shared with fellow countrymen Jacques Lucien Monod and François Jacob.  The three men, all researchers at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, were recognized for their discoveries concerning genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis.


Jacob, François: Jacob, François (1920- ), French biologist and Nobel laureate. Jacob studied how deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) transfer genetic information (see Genetics) and researched the genetic control of embryonic growth.


Alice Evans:  American microbiologist Alice Evans discovered that certain bacteria in raw milk could cause disease in humans.  Her pioneering research led the dairy industry to begin pasteurizing all milk in the 1930s.


The Creation of the Pasteur Institute:  On March 1, 1886, Pasteur presented the results of his rabies treatment to the Academy of Sciences and called for the creation of a rabies vaccine center.  An extensive, international public drive for funds financed the construction of the Pasteur Institute, a private, state-approved institute recognized by the President of France, Jules Grévy, in 1887 and inaugurated by his successor Sadi Carnot in 1888. In accordance with Pasteur's wishes, the Institute was founded as a clinic for rabies treatment, a research center for infectious disease and a teaching center.


The 66-year-old scientist went on to dedicate the last seven years of his life to the Institute that still bears his name.  During this period, Pasteur also came to know the joys of fame and was honored throughout the world with prestigious decorations.

His work was continued and amplified throughout the world by his disciples, the Pasteuriens.


National Inventors Hall of Fame


The National Inventors Hall of Fame is a U.S. organization founded in 1973 to honor successful inventors.  Members are chosen by the selection committee of the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, which is composed of representatives from national scientific and technical organizations.  Louis Pasteur was chose for inventing the process of fermentation to produce beer and ale and inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1978.

Louis Pasteur Hospital


France offers little this year to compare in architectural interest with the 1937 Paris Exposition.  Still among the most active architects is the pioneer modernist, Auguste Perret.  His new Museum of public works in Paris is typical of his personal idiom in concrete.  In spite of its classic conception, the building achieves integrity and interest through the emphasis accorded its exposed frame of reinforced concrete, through the use of pre-cast concrete slabs to fill in the voids between the structural members, and through the sharply defined, simple profiles of the protruding door and window frames.  The recently completed Louis Pasteur Hospital at Colmar, although ostensibly designed by W. Vetter with Perret only as consultant, also bears the unmistakable Perret stamp.



Pasteur Publications


Pasteur's principal works are: "Etudes sur le Vin", (1866); "Etudes sur le Vinnaigre" (1868); "Etudes sur la Maladie des Vers à Soie" (2 vols., 1870); "Quelques Réflexions sur la Science en France" (1871); "Etudes sur la Bière" (1876); "Les Microbes organisés, leur rôle dans la Fermentation, la Putréfaction et la Contagion" (1878); "Discours de Réception de M.L. Pasteur à l'Académie Française" (1882); "Traitement de la Rage" (1886).


Quotes about Pasteur


“Yet had Fleming not possessed immense knowledge and an unremitting gift of observation he might not have observed the effect of the hyssop mould.  "Fortune," remarked Pasteur, "favors the prepared mind."  André Maurois (1885 - 1967), French novelist and biographer. Referring to Alexander Fleming and Louis Pasteur.


The Progress of Humanity


"I beseech you to take interest in these sacred domains so expressively called laboratories.  Ask that there be more and that they be adorned for these are the temples of the future, wealth and well-being.  It is here that humanity will grow, strengthen and improve.  Here, humanity will learn to read progress and individual harmony in the works of nature, while humanity's own works are all too often those of barbarism, fanaticism and destruction." -- Louis Pasteur


He also famously quoted - "Le hasard favorise l’esprit preparé" ("Chance favors the prepared mind"), widely regarded as a reference to the scientific phenomenon of serendipity.


"Do not put forward anything that you cannot prove by experimentation." Science Hero: Louis Pasteur


Pasteur's faith was a genuine as his science.  In his panegyric of Littré, whose fauteuil he took, he said: "Happy the man who bears within him a divinity, an ideal of beauty and obeys it; and ideal of art, and ideal of science, an ideal of country, and ideal of the virtues of the Gospel".


Yet Pasteur later called fermentation "life without air, or life without oxygen."


Pasteur, apparently overlooking the air contact, challenged Beauchamp's statements, saying:


"... to be logical, Beauchamp should say that he has proved that moulds arise in pure sugared water, without nitrogen, phosphates or other mineral elements, for that is an enormity that can be deduced from his work, in which there is not the expression of the least astonishment that moulds have been able to grow in pure water with pure sugar without any other mineral or organic principles."


Tomb Engravings


These words are graven above his tomb in the Institut Pasteur.  In his address Pasteur said further "These are the living springs of great thoughts and great actions. Everything grows clear in the reflections from the Infinite".  Some of his letters to his children breathe profound simple piety.  He declared "The more I know, the more nearly is my faith that of the Breton peasant.  Could I but know all I would have the faith of a Breton peasant woman."


Honors and Assessment


The following is a summary honors and awards bestowed on Pasteur, the Father of Modern Medicine:


The Rumford and Copley Medals (1856-1874), in 1868 the Austrian Government gave him a prize of 10,000 francs for this work on silk- worms.


In 1873, the French Société d'Encouragement, a prize of 12,000 francs.


The Russian Society of Rural Economy, a medal (1882).


The Albert medal (1882) and the Bressa Prize, 5000 francs (Turin Academy, 1888).


The French Government, an annual pension of 12,000 francs (1874), increased in 1883 to 25,000 francs, and besides all the degrees of the Legion of Honour orders were conferred on him by Russia, Denmark, Greece, Brazil, Sweden, Turkey, Norway, and Portugal.


Oxford University gave him a D.C.L., Bonn, an honorary M.D., the English Royal Society, foreign membership, and the French Academy, its membership (1881).


He was made Perpetual Secretary of the Academy of Sciences in 1887.


There was a magnificent celebration of his jubilee on his seventieth birthday, 27 December 1892, to which contributions were sent from every civilized country and all the great institutions of learning.


Pasteur won the Leeuwenhoek medal, microbiology's highest honor, in 1895.


Craters on Mars and the Moon are named in his honor. In popular culture, Pasteur is the eponymous French scientist, his name appearing in science fiction shows like Star Trek.


A biographical film of his life has also been made, entitled The Story of Louis Pasteur.


Louis Pasteur Institute:  Inaugurated in 1888, the Pasteur Institute ranks as one of the foremost research centers in the world.


Louis Pasteur Monument:  Alès, formerly Alais, city in southern France. Alès is the chief city of an arrondissement in the department of Gard, 42 km (26 mi) northwest of Nîmes.  The city lies at the foot of the Cévennes mountain range on the Gardon River. Alès was inhabited during the Roman era, became the seat of a councillorship in 1200, and was acquired by King Louis IX of France in 1243.


It was in Alès that French chemist Louis Pasteur first became known for his investigations into diseases of the silkworm.  There are monuments in the town to Pasteur, as well as to noted was changed to Alès in 1926.


'Louis Pasteur' (in English), Embassy of France in Canada, - 'The Institut Pasteur: Foundation Dedicated to the milk through biological research, education and public health activities' (in English) - 'The Pasteur Galaxy: The Pasteur Diaspora', Association of Pasteur Families - 'Une Recherche d'excellence en biologie et en santé au service de la population et de son environnement' (biography of Pasteur, in French), Pasteur Institute at Lille


Street in Saigon, Vietnam: One of the few streets in Saigon, Vietnam has been renamed since colonial times are named in honour of Pasteur.




His discovery that most infectious diseases are caused by germs known as the "germ theory of disease" is one of the most important in medical history.  His work became the foundation for the science of microbiology and a cornerstone of modern medicine. Pasteur's phenomenal contributions to microbiology and medicine can be summarized as follows.  First, he championed changes in hospital practices to minimize the spread of disease by microbes.  Second, he discovered that weakened forms of a microbe could be used as an immunization against more virulent forms of the microbe.  Third, Pasteur found that rabies was transmitted by agents so small they could not be seen under a microscope, thus revealing the world of viruses. 


As a result he developed techniques to vaccinate dogs against rabies, and to treat humans bitten by rabid dogs.  And fourth, Pasteur developed "pasteurization," a process by which harmful microbes in perishable food products are destroyed using heat, without destroying the food.  Each discovery in the body of Pasteur's work represents a link in an uninterrupted chain, beginning with molecular asymmetry and ending with his rabies prophylaxis, by way of his research in fermentation, silkworm, wine and beer diseases, asepsis and vaccines. 


He died in 1895, near Paris, from complications caused by a series of strokes that had begun plaguing him as far back as 1868.  He was buried in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, but his remains were soon placed in a crypt in the Institut Pasteur, Paris.  What he could not above all understand is the failure of scientists to recognize the demonstration of the existence of the Creator that there is in the world around us.  He died with his rosary in his hand, after listening to the life of St. Vincent de Paul which he had asked to have read to him, because he thought that his work like that of St. Vincent would do much to save suffering children.









































Quick Facts about Louis Pasteur, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Louis Pasteur, Contributed By: Garland E. Allen and Randy Bird, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Rabies Vaccine, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Pasteurization, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Bacteria, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Immunization, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Antitoxin, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Anthrax, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Animal Research Is Wasteful and Misleading By Neal D. Barnard and Stephen R. Kaufman, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Bacteria, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Fracastoro, Girolamo (1478?-1553) Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Jenner, Edward (1749-1823), Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Virchow, Rudolf (1821-1902), Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Lister, Joseph, 1st Baron Lister (1827-1912), Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Berthelot, Pierre-Eugène-Marcelin (1827-1907), Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Friedel, Charles (1832-1899), Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Chardonnet, Comte de (1839-1924),Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Laveran, Charles Louis Alphonse (1845-1922), Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Metchnikoff, Élie (1845-1916), Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Nicolle, Charles Jules Henri (1866-1936),Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Lazear, Jesse William (1866-1900), Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Funk, Casimir (1884-1967), Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Lwoff, Andre Michel (1902-1994), Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Jacob, François (1920- ), Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Alice Evans, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Louis Pasteur, Web Site:


Louis Pasteur, Web site: ,   From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Louis Pasteur, Miscellaneous Facts, Web Site:


Debre, P.; Forster, E.: Louis Pasteur. Johns Hopkins University Press, October 2000; ISBN 0-801-86529-8. A biography in English.


Tiner, John Hudson: "Louis Pasteur: Founder of Modern Medicine". Mott Media, 1990; ISBN 0-88062-159-1 (paperback). A biography in English.


Immunology And Chicken Cholera,  Web Site: , From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Science and Hero by Jennifer, Web site:, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Louis Pasteur Disease Fighter by Linda Wasmer Smith, published by Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1997.


Louis Pasteur: Hunting Killer Germs (Ideas on Trial) by E.A.M Jakab, published by McGraw-Hill.


Louis Pasteur, Catholic Encyclopedia,  and Web Site:


Serendipity, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Web site:


Beauchamp, Pasteur, and Fermentation, web site:


The Dream and Life of Louis Pasteur by R. B. Pearson, Web Site: