Sunday, February 20, 2011

History of Pasteurization

History of Pasteurization
Pasteurization is named for the French scientist Louis Pasture (1822-1895). In 1856, 34 year old Louis Pasteur began his fourth year as the Head of Sciences at the University of Lille in France.

In the fall of the same year, Maurice D’Argineau, a local businessman, found Pasteur in his cramped corner lab.

D’Argineau’s consistent failure to make wine from his fields of sugar beets without it going sour was driving him to financial ruin. Pasteur was particular intrigued by the problem since it hinted at the involvement of one of his pet interests and he readily agreed to study the matter.

Although he first experimented with this process in 1862, pasteurization was not put to use until the early twenty century.

In the United States pasteurization was championed by Alice Catherine Evans (1881-1975), a microbiologists who worked for the US department of Agriculture.

Evans suffered from a disease known as brucellosis (undulant fever) and in 1918 she discovered that brucella, the bacterium that caused her disease, could be found in cow’s milk.

Scientists eventually determined that brucella was not the only milk borne bacterium. Milk can harbor other bacteria – such as E. coli, salmonella, and listeria – which can cause harmful and even life threatening infectious in the young, the old, pregnant women and the infirm.

Indeed, unpasteurized cow’s milk was a very common cause of tuberculosis, typhoid fever and salmonellosis.

Evans advocated on behalf of pasteurization for years after her discovery. Finally in the 1930s, milk pasteurization became mandatory under US law.
History of Pasteurization