Beginnings of Microbiology and Biochemistry: The Contribution of Yeast Research

MBAA TQ vol. 44, no. 4, 2007, pp. 264-272  |  VIEW ARTICLE

James A. Barnett. School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.

With improvements in microscopes early in the nineteenth century, yeasts were seen to be living organisms, although some famous scientists ridiculed the idea and their influence held back the development of microbiology. In the 1850s and 1860s, yeasts were established as microbes and responsible for alcoholic fermentation, and this led to the study of the r�le of bacteria in lactic and other fermentations, as well as bacterial pathogenicity. At this time, there were difficulties in distinguishing between the activities of microbes and of extracellular enzymes. Between 1884 and 1894, Emil Fischer�s study of sugar utilization by yeasts generated an understanding of enzymic specificity and the nature of enzyme�substrate complexes.


A comienzos del siglo XIX las mejoras en la calidad de los microscopios permiti� indicar que las c�lulas de levadura eran organismos vivos; algunos cient�ficos famosos se burlaban de esas conclusiones, lo que termin� frenando el desarrollo de la microbiolog�a. En las d�cadas de 1850 y 1860 se estableci� sin lugar a duda que los microorganismos eran responsables por la fermentaci�n alcoh�lica, lo que condujo a un estudio m�s profundo del papel de las bacterias en fermentaciones l�cticas (y otras), y del estudio de las bacterias pat�genas. En aquellos tiempos se dificultaba la distinci�n entre la actividad de los microorganismos y la de enzimas extra celulares. Entre 1884 y 1894, el estudio de Emil Fischer en cuanto a la utilizaci�n de azucares por la levadura llev� a un entendimiento de la especificidad de las enzimas y la naturaleza de los complejos sustrato�enzima.



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