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Article
June 12, 1915

THE NATURE OF BACTERIA—AN EARLY AMERICAN VIEW

JAMA. 1915;LXIV(24):1994. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570500042022
Abstract

For many years in the earlier history of bacteriology the micro-organisms which are its subject-matter were claimed for both the animal and vegetable kingdoms by the workers in the different domains of science. To Ehrenberg,1 the pioneer student of bacteria, who knew little else to do with them except to classify them, they were animalcules, "devoid of an intestine and without external organs." The power of movement with which many of these minute forms were endowed placed them outside of the possibility of a plant nature to the early observers. It was the more careful study of the lower fungi that first drew attention to the similarity between bacteria and these plant forms.

The current accounts of the development of our knowledge of the bacteria state that, with the possible exception of Dujardin, all observers up to 1852 had looked on bacteria as belonging to the animal kingdom. In

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