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Chapter 6 : First Recognition: Koch and Cohn

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First Recognition: Koch and Cohn, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

Ferdinand Cohn was one of the first botanists in Europe to teach from living plants rather than from dried and pressed specimens. In his early years, Cohn studied algae, but by the 1860s he had turned to a study of bacteria. From careful observation of bacteria, Cohn concluded that different species of bacteria existed and that a morphological classification was possible. Cohn discussed Davaine's work on anthrax and other work that suggested that bacteria might cause contagious diseases. Realizing that Koch's work was of great medical importance, Cohn sent to the Institute of Pathology for someone to come and see Koch's cultures and observations. It was a fateful and dramatic moment, as Cohnheim was the one medical researcher who could not only appreciate the beauty of Koch's work, but could publicize Koch himself. Cohn showed that his spore-forming organism, which he named , was resistant to boiling when spores were present, an exceedingly important discovery for the development of reproducible sterilization techniques. As Cohn's formed spores in the manner of Koch's , it was important to show that the disease anthrax was linked to Koch's specific organism.

Citation: Brock T. 1999. First Recognition: Koch and Cohn, p 38-53. In Robert Koch. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818272.ch6

Key Concept Ranking

Bacterial Classification
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Bacillus subtilis
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Figures

Image of Figure 6.1
Figure 6.1

Citation: Brock T. 1999. First Recognition: Koch and Cohn, p 38-53. In Robert Koch. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818272.ch6
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Image of Figure 6.2
Figure 6.2

Citation: Brock T. 1999. First Recognition: Koch and Cohn, p 38-53. In Robert Koch. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818272.ch6
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Image of Figure 6.3
Figure 6.3

Citation: Brock T. 1999. First Recognition: Koch and Cohn, p 38-53. In Robert Koch. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818272.ch6
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Image of Figure 6.4
Figure 6.4

Citation: Brock T. 1999. First Recognition: Koch and Cohn, p 38-53. In Robert Koch. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818272.ch6
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Image of Figure 6.5
Figure 6.5

The famous set of drawings of bacterial endospores, illustrating the papers of Cohn and Koch. The original was a color lithograph. Figures 1 through 7 illustrate Koch's paper, the rest refer to Cohn's paper published in the same issue. The legend for Koch's paper follows: Fig. 1. Anthrax bacilli from the blood of a guinea pig. Fig. 2. Anthrax bacilli from the spleen of a mouse, after three hours culture in a drop of aqueous humor. Fig. 3. As Fig. 2, but after 10 hours culture. Fig. 4. As Fig. 2, but after 24 hours. Note the chains of spores. Fig. 5. Spore germination. Fig. 5b was drawn by Cohn to illustrate Koch's paper. Fig. 6. Arrangement for a slide culture. The cover slip has been ringed with olive oil to make it air tight. A warm stage was used to maintain the slide culture near body temperature. Aqueous humor was used for the culture. Even with the naked eye one could see turbidity due to the growth of the long filamentous masses. Fig. 7. Growth of the bacilli in the epithelium of the frog. The bacteria are inside the epithelial cells.

Citation: Brock T. 1999. First Recognition: Koch and Cohn, p 38-53. In Robert Koch. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818272.ch6
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