Publisher Information: Berlin: Norddeutschen Buchdruckerei und Verlagsanstalt, 1881.
Koch, Robert (1843-1910). Zur Untersuchung von pathologenen Organismen [front cover]. Offprint from Mittheilungen aus dem kaiserlichen Gesundheitsamte 1 (1881). Berlin: Norddeutschen Buchdruckerei und Verlagsanstalt, 1881. 48pp. 14 photographic plates. 300 x 220 mm. Original gray printed boards, black cloth spine, hinges cracked, becoming loose in binding. Light staining and darkening, minor edgewear, but on the whole very good. Presentation Copy, inscribed by Koch to German pathologist Emil Ponfick (1844-1913) on the front cover: “Herrn Professor Dr. Ponfick, hochachtungsvoll, der Verf.”
Inscribed Copy of the First Edition, Very Rare Separate Offprint Issue of Koch’s landmark “Zur Untersuchung von pathogenen Organismen,” in which he described his development of the plate technique for cultivating bacteria—the first consistent method for obtaining pure cultures of virtually any species of bacteria. The methods outlined here “are the bases on which bacteriology largely rests” (Garrison-Morton.com 2495.1). Profusely illustrated with microphotographs, Koch’s paper long remained the basic instructional manual for bacteriological laboratories.
Koch presented this copy of the offprint to German pathologist Emil Ponfick, assistant to Rudolf Virchow. Ponfick is known for “recogniz[ing] the positive role of actinomyces in human actinomycosis; he established the identity of the human and animal forms of the disease (Garrison-Morton.com 5512). As Regierungsrat (government advisor) with the Imperial Department of Health in Berlin, Koch was tasked with developing reliable methods for isolating and cultivating pathogenic bacteria, gathering bacteriological data, and establishing scientific principles relating to public health and hygiene. In the present paper Koch extended the bacteriological methods that he had presented earlier in his Aetiologie der Wundinfectionskrankheiten (1878), emphasizing the isomorphism of pathogenic bacteria, stressing the importance of strictly sterile techniques in order to avoid contamination, and advocating nutrient gelatin as a solid growth medium that allowed the selection of individual colonies, thus ensuring pure cultures. He also insisted that newly isolated pathogens should be investigated for transferability to animals, points of entry and localization in the host organism, natural habitats and susceptibility to harmful agents. Horblit 60. Norman 1230.Book Id: 45016