By W. D. Foster
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Extra resources for A History of Medical Bacteriology and Immunology
J. Schroeter, a worker in Cohn's department, with whose work one might have expected Koch to be familiar had done all these things in 1872, but Koch makes no reference to this work. It was Koch's great merit to appreciate the enormous possibilities of solid media in general and to show that with their aid pure cultures of bacteria could be grown regularly with the greatest of ease. Potato itself proved surprisingly useful, even for pathogenic bacteria, and the early textbooks of bacteriology abound with coloured plates illustrating the growth of various species on this medium.
Hesse who had studied under Koch and who was, in his home laboratory, studying the various bacteria found in the air. Tired of having his cultures spoiled by gelatine-liquifying organisms he looked for other means of solidifying his culture media. Fortunately his wife, Fannie, as well as her housewife's duties acted as her husband's technician and prepared broth for the bacteria as well as soup c 50 A History of Medical Bacteriology and Immunology for the family. She suggested the use of agar-agar, an extract of Japanese seaweed, which she had used for some years for culinary purposes.
But he was quick to observe a new principle. In all these old vaccination procedures the infecting agent, loosely spoken of as a virus, was unknown. Chicken cholera was caused by a known bacterium which could be cultivated artificially. Bacterial diseases were therefore fundamentally the same as the Virus diseases' and there was no reason why the immunization procedure, so successful in preventing smallpox, should not be extended to all known bacterial diseases. But he appreciated the specificity of the immunity, for he showed that chicken cholera immune fowls could still be infected with anthrax.
A History of Medical Bacteriology and Immunology by W. D. Foster