Chapter 1 : Orchestral Relationships and Soil Microbes

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This chapter is the first of the biography that tells the story of how a bacteriologist’s quest for the mechanisms of disease turned into a philosopher’s search for the meaning of health. René Dubos, taking frequent refuge on his land that he gradually established living connections to the soil and found a lasting satisfaction from the hard physical work the land demanded. The land gave new strength to his science and writing. As trees grew, ideas matured and his transition from soil microbiologist to philosopher of earth became more inevitable and more assured. The chapter talks about his early childhood, discusses his career approach in soil science, and his entry in the new field of soil microbiology. Using direct techniques, Serge Winogradsky, one of the founders of soil microbiology, made three important discoveries: each type of soil contains an indigenous biota, each sample of soil harbors innumerable types of microbes, and many soil microorganisms could not be cultivated by any other means. Several qualities from his early work characterize Dubos’ approach to future research.

Citation: Moberg C. 2005. Orchestral Relationships and Soil Microbes, p 1-19. In René Dubos, Friend of the Good Earth. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817565.ch1
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