August 10, 1918


JAMA. 1918;71(6):466-467. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600320050014

There is an enlightening frankness in the presidential address of Professor Rettger1 of Yale University, before the American Society of Bacteriologists, wherein it is stated that "we are as yet in the dark regarding the real food requirements of bacteria." The widespread preaching that these lowly organisms are the scavengers that utilize practically all sorts of organic matter as food gives little indication of the rapidly growing evidence of the specific peculiarities of bacterial nutrition—of the suggestion that "the problem of dietetics in bacteriology is as real as in animal physiology." Rettger reminds us once more that the processes involved in the pancreatic digestion of protein are in a large measure reproduced by the proteolytic enzymes of organisms of the Bacillus subtilis and Proteus vulgaris types, certainly by the organisms of putrefaction. A new interpretation may be brought to the well known fact that bacterial enzymes are able to

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