Robert Koch. Source: NIH ( via Wikipedia. Click on image to enlarge it.

Robert Heinrich Hermann Koch earned his medical degree at the University of Gottingen in 1866. While a student he worked with the great anatomist-histologist Henle. Koch served as a surgeon in the Franco-Prussian War, then from 1871-1880 he practised as physician at Wollstein-Posen, East Prussia (now Poland), becoming increasingly interested in bacteriology. In 1875-76 Koch showed the specific agent Bacillus anthracis to be always present in the diseased animal, and that the bacillus spores also produced anthrax. These two posits became part of his more developed four "Koch's Postulates" for all disease-contagion with a bacterial aetiology.

Koch also pioneered the culture of bacteria, special stains, vaccination, and in 1878 would visit Egypt's cholera outbreak. In 1880 moved to Berlin and commenced his major bacteriological invetigations, working with a large number of talented pupils and co-workers. In the anthrax work he was already aided by Gaffky and Loeffler. See CF: 141 passim. "Koch's stain" was an alcoholic solution of methyl blue in potash/alkali, and differed from his collaborator's "Loffler's stain" only in the concentrations of reagents used, viz. Koch's being the purposefully "weak" variant (CF 45).

Last modified 3 December 2016