Bacteria in Relation to Plant Diseases

An excerpt from Bacteria in Relation to Plant Diseases, published in 1905

silkwormAmong the multitude of workers in animal pathology and bacteriology during the last thirty-five years certain men tower far above the rest, their contributions to science having been more conspicuous and their imprint on their generation more lasting. If France is mentioned, we think at once of Pasteur, Davaine, Duclaux, Metchnikoff, Chamberland, Roux, Nocard, and Chauveau. In Germany we think of Virchow, Cohn, Cohnheim, Koch, Weigert, Nicolaier, Eberth, Gaffky, Hueppe, Flügge, Fraenkel, Pfeiffer, Behring, Ehrlich, and many others; in Japan, of Kitasato and Shiga; in the United States, of Welch, Sternberg, Theobald, Smith, Nuttall, Councilman, and a host of brilliant younger men, many of whom received their training under Welch in the Johns Hopkins Pathological Laboratory. England, from which one might have expected so much, has contributed comparatively little, owing probably to the laws in force in that country respecting animal experimentation, laws framed with the intention of doing a kindness to the lower animals, but working, on account of their interference with the pathologist, a distinct detriment both to men and animals, the aim of all animal pathological inquiry being the alleviation of human and animal suffering. In passing we should not forget, however, the contributions of Tyndall and Lister, the one a physicist, the other a surgeon.

Undoubtedly bacteriology owed very much to Louis Pasteur. France has had many great sons, none greater than he. His refutation of the doctrine of spontaneous generation cleared the air of many misconceptions and laid the foundations for exact experimentation. His demonstration of the nature of pebrine and clacherie, two destructive diseases of silk worms, brought again into vivid light the assumption that the origin of a great variety of human and animal diseases should be sought in the activities of microscopic organisms. His studies of anthrax and other diseases of warm-blooded animals confirmed this suspicion and set a great many persons thinking and working. His investigations of the problems connected with fermentation were similarly fertile in discovery and in suggestion.

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