Details

Date1861
AuthorPasteur
Contributionb. Published classic paper on germs in air.
ReferenceCarter
NotesNote from Carter: Airborne dust contains particles indistinguishable from germs of organisms [germs later became term for the organisms]. Capable of multiplication if fermentable fluid; and no fermentation in their absence. Supported by swan-neck flask experiments, where dust settles out in neck (sticks to moisture on glass?) but air goes in. These two lines of evidence showed germs necessary for culture growth, and the first line showed also that, under the right conditions, they were sufficient. Impossible, he conceded, to prove that Spon. Gen. never occured; but this work made it seem unlikely and put the burden of proof on his opponents. The turning point, although sporadic challenges were to follow. Other notes: Clearly stated that his studies on spontaneous generation arose from his conviction that ferments were living organisms, and his realization that they must either arise de novo from contact between organic matter and oxygen, or be present in the fermentable fluids and stimulated by oxygen from the air. In a short paper of 1857 he explained how his work on the crystallography of amyl-alcohols led to his work on fermentation. See also Geison re Pasteur's motivaton.
CategoryCausation
Pathogen ClassBacteria

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