Eduard Buchner


Eduard Buchner
(1860-1917)

German biochemist who was awarded the 1907 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for demonstrating that the fermentation of carbohydrates results from the action of different enzymes contained in yeast and not the yeast cell itself. He showed that an enzyme, zymase, can be extracted from yeast cells and that it causes sugar to break up into carbon dioxide and alcohol.

Eduard Buchner was born in Munich on May 20, 1860, the son of Dr. Ernst Buchner, Professor Extraordinary of Forensic Medicine and physician at the University, and Friederike nee Martin.
The problems of chemistry had greatly attracted him at the Polytechnic and in 1884 he turned afresh to new studies in pure science, mainly in chemistry with Adolf von Baeyer and in botany with Professor C. von Naegeli at the Botanic Institute, Munich. It was at the latter, where he studied under the special supervision of his brother Hans (who later became well-known as a bacteriologist), that his first publication (The Influence of oxygen on fermentations) saw the light in 1885. In the course of his research in organic chemistry he received special assistance and stimulation from T. Curtius and H. von Pechmann, who were assistants in the laboratory in those days. After one term in Erlangen in the laboratory of Otto Fischer, where meanwhile Curtius had been appointed director of the analytical department, he took his doctor's degree in the University of Munich in 1888.

In 1893 the first experiments were made on the rupture of yeast cells; but because the Board of the Laboratory was of the opinion that "nothing will be achieved by this"- the grinding of the yeast cells had already been described during the past 40 years, which latter statement was confirmed by accurate study of the literature- the studies on the contents of yeast cells were set aside for three years. In the autumn of 1893 Buchner took over the supervision of the analytical department in T. Curtius' laboratory in the University of Kiel.
In 1896 he was called as Professor Extraordinary for Analytical and Pharmaceutical Chemistry in the chemical laboratory of H. von Pechmann at the University of Tubingen. During the autumn vacation in the same year his researches into the contents of the yeast cell were successfully recommenced in the Hygienic Institute of Munich, where his brother was on the Board of Directors.

Buchner married Lotte Stahl in 1900. When serving as a major in a field hospital at Folkschani in Roumania, he was wounded on August 3, 1917. Of these wounds received in action at the front, he died at Munich on the 12th of the same month.



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