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Pas·teur(păs-tûr′, pä-stœr′), Louis 1822-1895.
French chemist and microbiologist who was an influential proponent of the germ theory. He developed the process of pasteurization and vaccines for fowl cholera, anthrax, and rabies.
Pas·teur(păs-tûr′), Louis 1822-1895.
French chemist who founded modern microbiology. His early work with fermentation led him to invent the process of pasteurization. Pasteur established that germs cause communicable diseases and infections. He developed vaccines for anthrax, chicken cholera, and rabies.
Biography In the mid-19th century, most people believed that disease was caused by a process of spontaneous generation. According to this belief, disease-causing parasites arose spontaneously in an organism (that is, all by themselves, without any outside cause), much as maggots were thought to arise spontaneously in rotting meat. In the 1860s, the chemist Louis Pasteur demonstrated in a series of experiments that the fermentation of wine to vinegar was caused by living agents—germs—that entered the wine from outside it. That is, the agents of fermentation were not generated within the substance but were carried to it by the air and then reproduced inside it. He became convinced that, if agents from the air could cause a substance to undergo fermentation, they could also enter and cause disease in animals and plants. Pasteur believed that if the agents of fermentation in substances could be identified and destroyed, they could be identified and destroyed in the body as well. He spent the rest of his life working to isolate the organisms that cause specific diseases and to find treatments to prevent them. Although Pasteur's germ theory of disease was not immediately accepted, thanks to the work of other pioneering scientists like Robert Koch, it eventually provided the foundation for modern medicine.