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Chapter 9 : Louis Pasteur and the Germ Theory of Disease

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Abstract:

Louis Pasteur related certain microorganisms to certain fermentation processes and determined that if competing microorganisms entered the picture, the desired fermentation process would be "diseased." His logical thinking and, more importantly, his experiments had defined the germ theory of fermentation. Resolution of the debate over spontaneous generation of microorganisms was an essential step in the development of the germ theory of human disease. Pasteur determined the attenuation of the chicken cholera bacillus to be from the harmful effect of air, specifically oxygen, on an aging culture. Pasteurization was successfully applied to wine, beer, cider, vinegar, and, of course, milk. Pasteur conducted a very public experiment of his anthrax vaccine in May 1881, where the sheep, goat and cows that had received the vaccinations of the attenuated anthrax, all appeared healthy. The filtrate induced identical agglutination of fresh red blood cells, suggesting that a soluble toxin from anthrax bacilli was capable of producing disease. The study of rabies presented great difficulties for Pasteur and his colleagues. The impact of Pasteur's work goes beyond the germ theory of disease. Pasteur linked basic research and applications in a multidisciplinary approach, what today might be called translational research.

Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Louis Pasteur and the Germ Theory of Disease, p 143-171. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch9

Key Concept Ranking

Lactic Acid Fermentation
0.73127353
Alcoholic Fermentation
0.504927
Acetic Fermentation
0.461828
0.73127353
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Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Louis Pasteur and the Germ Theory of Disease, p 143-171. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch9
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Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Louis Pasteur and the Germ Theory of Disease, p 143-171. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch9
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Louis Pasteur. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine. 10.1128/9781555817220.ch9.f1

Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Louis Pasteur and the Germ Theory of Disease, p 143-171. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch9
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References

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1. Dubos, R. J. 1950. Louis Pasteur: Free Lance of Science, p. 90115. Little, Brown & Co., Boston, MA.
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5. Dubos, R. J. 1950. Louis Pasteur: Free Lance of Science, p. 267291. Little, Brown & Co., Boston, MA.
6. Dubos, R. J. 1950. Louis Pasteur: Free Lance of Science, p. 317358. Little, Brown & Co., Boston, MA.
7. Dufour, H., and, S. Carroll. 2013. Great myths die hard. Nature 502:3233.
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9. Holmes, S. J. 1924. Louis Pasteur, p. 125142. Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, NY.
10. Illo, J. 1996. Pasteur and rabies: an interview of 1882. Med. History 40:373377.
11. Martinez-Palomo, A. 2001. The science of Louis Pasteur: a reconsideration. Q. Rev. Biol. 76:3745.
12. Montagnier, L. 1995. Pasteur’s legacy. Am. J. Med. 99(Suppl. 6A):4S5S.
13. Pasteur, L. 2002. Summary report of the experiments conducted at Pouilly-le-Fort, near Melun, on the anthrax vaccination. Yale J. Biol. Med. 75:5962. (Original publication, C. R. Acad. Sci. 92:13781383, 1881.)
14. Vallery-Radot, R. 1923. The Life of Pasteur, p. 257296. Doubleday, Page & Co., New York, NY.
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16. Vallery-Radot, R. 1923. The Life of Pasteur, p. 413444. Doubleday, Page & Co., New York, NY.

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