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January 8, 1887


JAMA. 1887;VIII(2):38-40. doi:10.1001/jama.1887.02391270010003

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Biologo-Chemical Ppoperties of Microbes.  — At a recent meeting of the Russian Chemical Society in St. Petersburg, Professor A. V. Poehl (Vratch, No. 8, 1886, p. 157) made a very interesting communication on his experimental study of the vital process of various microbes. The formation of ptomaines in nature, he says, is mostly caused by the vital action of micro-organisms. While studying the microbes of human fæces, the author found that in morbid cases there appear in the intestines several kinds of microbes, possessing the property of decomposing proteid bodies. To use Hoppe-Seyler's words, the decomposing action of bacteria on proteids resembles that of caustic alkalies (while ferments act on proteids like weak acids). Under the splitting action both of bacteria and caustic alkalies, there simultaneously appear the products of oxydation and those of reduction, which fact is explained by decomposition of water (H2O) into an oxydizing hydroxyl

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