In 1903, Vaughan and Wheeler found that the cellular substance of the colon bacillus contains a highly active poison. This was obtained by extracting the dried, dead cells with a 2 per cent. solution of sodium hydroxid in absolute alcohol at 78 C. (172.4 F.). This poison was partially purified by repeated precipitation from alcoholic solution with either mercuric or cupric chlorid and removal of the base with hydrogen sulphid. This poison kills guinea-pigs when injected intravenously in doses of 0.5 mg. When given intra-abdominally this dose must be multiplied by 16 and when given subcutaneously by 32 in order to cause death.
Subsequently the same, or a closely related, poison was obtained from other pathogenic and from non-pathogenic bacteria, and then from vegetable and animal proteins. This work has been repeated and confirmed by others in this country and abroad. It is now known as "the protein poison" and
VAUGHAN VC. THE PROTEIN POISON AND ITS RELATION TO DISEASE. JAMA. 1913;61(20):1761–1764. doi:10.1001/jama.1913.04350210001001
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