Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), French chemist and microbiologist, decided at an early age to become a painter, but this interest was superseded by a fascination with science. He became a professor of physics at Dijon in 1848, and then a professor of chemistry at Strasbourg, where he met and married the rector's daughter, Mile. Laurent, who became a devoted fellow worker. At age twenty-two, he accepted the position of dean at Lille.
   Pasteur's chief interest during the early stages was in lactic and alcoholic fermentation, that is, discovering a method for checking excessive fermentation and reducing disease in wine, beer, and milk. After much experimentation, he recommended that those liquids be heated to high temperatures and then rapidly cooled, a treatment that frees them from disease-causing bacteria without seriously changing the food value or taste. That formula not only revolutionized the wine and beer industries but also saved the lives of untold numbers of milk drinkers.
   Pasteur saved France's silk industry by isolating the bacilli of a disease destroying the silkworm. He then turned his attention to anthrax and chicken cholera with remarkable success, developing the anthrax vaccine. The story behind his study involving hydrophobia is worthy of a fourstar movie. He developed a vaccine to immunize dogs against this fatal disease. The vaccine proved itself, but he could not be sure that the same treatment would work for human beings.
   The test for its effectiveness came unexpectedly one day when a nineyearold, Joseph Meister, walked into his laboratory to say he had been bitten by a wild dog. Pasteur realized that without treatment the boy would die. Although he had never experimented with the vaccine on a human being, he decided to inoculate the boy. His colleagues held their breath. Young Meister was given a series of injections—and the vaccine worked.
   Pasteur became a sick man as a result of a stroke in 1868. The illness remained with him for the rest of his life, but despite his infirmities, he kept working, serving the Institut Pasteur in Paris in various capacities. Most people remember Pasteur as the man who developed the process for destroying harmful bacteria in milk, a process called pasteurization through which milk is pasteurized.
   Pasteur saved more lives than can be known. His guiding light was his aphorism, "I would feel that I was stealing if I were to spend a single day without working."

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pasteurize — Pas*teur ize, v. t. 1. To subject to pasteurization. [1913 Webster] 2. To treat by pasteurism. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pasteurize — (v.) 1881, with IZE (Cf. ize), after Louis Pasteur (1822 1895), French chemist and bacteriologist, who invented the process of heating food, milk, wine, etc., to kill most of the micro organisms in it; distinguished from STERILIZATION (Cf.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • pasteurize — (Amer.) pas·teur·ize || pæstʃəraɪz v. sterilize milk or other fluid through exposure to high temperatures; treat by pasteurization (also pasteurise) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • pasteurize — (also pasteurise) ► VERB ▪ make (milk or other food) safe to eat by destroying most of the micro organisms in it, especially by heating. DERIVATIVES pasteurization noun. ORIGIN named after the French chemist Louis Pasteur (1822 95) …   English terms dictionary

  • pasteurize — [pas′chər īz΄, pas′tərīz΄] vt. pasteurized, pasteurizing [Fr pasteuriser, after PASTEUR Louis + iser, IZE] to subject (milk, beer, etc.) to pasteurization pasteurizer n …   English World dictionary

  • pasteurize — transitive verb ( ized; izing) Etymology: Louis Pasteur Date: 1881 to subject to pasteurization • pasteurizer noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • pasteurize — pasteurization, n. /pas cheuh ruyz , pas teuh /, v.t., pasteurized, pasteurizing. to expose (a food, as milk, cheese, yogurt, beer, or wine) to an elevated temperature for a period of time sufficient to destroy certain microorganisms, as those… …   Universalium

  • pasteurize — verb To heat food for the purpose of killing harmful organisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, molds, and yeasts …   Wiktionary

  • pasteurize — To treat by pasteurization. * * * pas·teur·ize also Brit pas·teur·ise pas chə .rīz, pas tə vt, ized also Brit ised; iz·ing also Brit is·ing to subject to pasteurization pas·teur·iz·er also Brit pas·teur·is·er n …   Medical dictionary

  • pasteurize — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) v. t. sterilize, disinfect. See cleanness. II (Roget s IV) v. Syn. render germ free, sterilize, purify, make safe for human consumption; see clean , heat 2 …   English dictionary for students

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