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January 13, 1945


JAMA. 1945;127(2):120. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860020064025

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To the Editor:—  The following extract is a curious illustration of this, and also of the fact that the practical usefulness of an observation depends on its practical use! In Pflüger's Archiv of 1888, volume 43, there is an "arbeit" by Max Bierfreund, working on rigor mortis in the Physiologic Institute of Königsberg in Prussia, under the inspiration of L. Hermann. One of his points was that the resolution of the rigor is not due to putrefaction. As an evidence he cites an instance of rabbit muscles which gave no sign of putrefaction after six to eight days, and in explanation he remarks (page 212) "Mold fungi, which flourish excellently on acid mediums, appeared on the muscles on the second day and multiplied so rapidly that the muscles were soon enveloped as by a white mantle. The mold fungi, in their turn, had prevented the development of putrefactive organisms."

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