The first pasteurization test
Originally shared by Ed Pearce
Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard completed the experiment falsifying the theory of spontaneous generation on April 20, 1862..
During Pasteur’s time, people believed that microbes such as bacteria appeared due to „spontaneous generation.” They thought that the bacteria just appeared out of nowhere. Pasteur ran experiments to see if this was true. Through his experiments he proved the existence of airborne bacteria, identified and produced germs and introduced the science of microbiology. He also showed that germs could be killed by filtration, heat and the use of antiseptics. His experiments earned Pasteur the nickname the „Father of Germ Theory.”
In the early 1860s, people had thought it was chemical changes that made milk „go off” and spoil other beverages. Pasteur’s research showed that the growth of micro-organisms was responsible for spoiling drinks. With this established, he invented a process in which the beverage was heated killing the bacteria present in it without destroying its food value. The first pasteurization test was completed by Pasteur and Claude Bernard on April 20, 1862.
Pasteur’s discoveries vastly improved the taste of French wine. Some local wine makers had been complaining that their crushed grapes tasted vinegarish. During a 1864 summer holiday in Arbois, Pasteur performed experiments in an improvised lab in the back room of a café. He discovered that by heating a young wine to about 50–60 °C (122–140 °F) for a brief time to kill the living organisms that sour the drink, the wine could subsequently be aged without sacrificing the final quality. Pasteur’s improvements in the preparation of French wine created a rapid increase in their sales.
Pasteur patented the method, which in honor of the chemist became known as pasteurization in 1865.
Louis Pasteur’s intense nationalism inspired him to investigate why German beers were superior to French ones. The explanation was similar to the earlier problem he encountered with wine in that he found micro-organisms were ruining the French ones.
Pasteur devised a new microbiological procedure for brewing beer that improved the taste of French beer and enabled it to preserve its taste for a longer period. This meant the French would be able to export their beer to their colonies without it deteriorating on the long journey en route.
Pasteurization was originally used as a way of preventing wine and beer from souring and it would be another two decades before milk was pasteurized.
Pasteur’s pioneering work on pasteurization paved the way for medical breakthroughs such as Joseph Lister’s antiseptic treatment of surgical wounds. Lister said of the French chemist. „There does not exist in the wide world an individual for whom medical science owes more than to you.”