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Louis Pasteur

Quick Information;
Pasteur was born in December 27 1822 till December 28 1895,
he was a French chemist and he also was a microbiologist born
in Dole. Remember due to his remarkable breakthrough in the
causes and preventions of disease. He was the first to create
vaccine for rabies and also was one of the first three to
discover and be the founders of microbiology.

SO WHAT DID PASTEUR ACTUALLY DO?

Pasteur founded the science of microbiology and proved that


most infectious diseases are caused by micro-organisms. This
became known as the "germ theory" of disease. He was the
inventor of the process of pasteurization and also developed
vaccines for several diseases including rabies. The discovery of
the vaccine for rabies led to the founding of the Pasteur
Institute in Paris in 1888.

SO HOW DID PASTEUR MAKE HIS DISCOVERIES?

When he was only twenty-six years old Pasteur solved a


problem that had been puzzling the great chemists of the day.
He found that when light was passed through tartaric acid -
this was found in wine dregs, it produced a strange effect.
Pasteur proved that this was because the acid is actually not
one acid but a mixture of different acids. This find impressed
the scientists of influence and established Pasteur's
reputation.

While at the University of Strasbourg he became interested in


fermentation and this interest continued when he moved to
the University of Lille. The faculty had been established partly
to serve as a means of applying science to the problems of the
industries of the region, especially the production of alcoholic
drinks. This work in fermentation enabled Pasteur to identify
that the changes brought about when beer or wine ferments,
milk turns sour or meat decays, occur when special micro-
organisms are present.

As a result of these findings Pasteur was asked to help the


local breweries where the beer had turned bad. The souring of
wine and beer was a major economic problem in France.
Pasteur looked at some droplets of bad beer through a
microscope and observed that the beer contained small rod
shaped bacteria, instead of round yeast cells. Although micro-
organisms are essential in fermentation they must be the right
ones. This was a major discovery. Pasteur made brewing a
more scientific procedure and showed brewers how to culture
the right organisms for good beer. He also demonstrated to
the wine industry that if wine is gently heated to sixty degrees
celsius for a short time, the growth of harmful bacteria is
prevented and the wine does not go sour in bottles or barrels.

Pasteur then extended this to other problems such as the


souring of milk. He proposed heating the milk to a high
temperature and pressure before bottling. The process is now
in widespread use and is called pasteurization.

WHAT OTHER DISCOVERIES DID PASTEUR MAKE?

By 1857 Pasteur had become world famous and took up an


appointment as director of scientific studies at the Ecole
Normale in Paris. He was asked to help to investigate a serious
disease that was ruining the silk industry in southern France.
The disease known as pebrine attacked the silk worms. The
signs of the disease were that the eggs did not hatch or the
worms would die before making their silk cocoons. It had now
reached epidemic proportions and even disease free worms
brought in from Spain and Italy had been contaminated. By
1864 there were no uncontaminated eggs left, except for those
brought in from Japan.
Pasteur observed through his microscope that the diseased
caterpillars and eggs all contained tiny organisms. He
identified these as disease producing organisms. He managed
to obtain some healthy worms and he divided them into two
lots. He fed one lot with mulberry leaves smeared with the
remains of diseased worms and fed the others with mulberry
leaves smeared with the remains of healthy worms. Pasteur
was able to show that the worms fed on diseased smeared
leaves got the disease, whereas those fed on uncontaminated
leaves remained disease free. He then worked with the silk
industry to devise a simple way of keeping silk worms under
healthy conditions and therefore disease free.

Not only had Pasteur rescued the French silk industry but he
had established the connection between bacteria and disease.
The connection had not been fully understood before