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Robert Koch's Other Contributions to Science


Culture plate with bacterial
Slides with sample.


Robert Koch's scientific achievements are indeed impressive and multifaceted, ranging from basic discoveries of bacteria as infectious agents, to revealing the role of bacteria in infectious disease and the possible impact on public health. Listed below are some of Koch's major scientific accomplishments:

 He showed in a convincing way that microorganisms cause disease in humans.
 He established Koch's Postulates, which provide the essential experimental basis for any study of infectious disease whether in humans, animals or plants.

 Koch developed a technique for isolating bacteria on a culture plate. This "Plate Technique" not only created the foundation for bacteriological research, but became indispensable for the study of bacterial genetics.
 Koch provided the fundamentals for Microscopic Pathology.

 He made the first photomicrographs of bacteria.
 Koch was the first to discover and describe the importance of drying ("fixing") a bacteria-containing sample on thin glass plates (slides). Koch's "Slide Technique" is still the basis for routine laboratory procedures in the study of bacteria.

 He discovered and worked out the life cycle of anthrax bacteria, and showed the importance of spores for their survival.

 Koch discovered the staphylococcus, a major disease-causing bacterium in wound infections.
 He isolated and identified the bacterium that causes cholera, Vibrio cholerae.
 Koch was instrumental in the development of essential procedures and methods for disinfection and sterilization. This was important not only for laboratory work, but for public health measures as well.
 Koch was the first to observe that healthy human beings could be carriers of disease-causing bacteria, and hence responsible for the spread of infectious disease.


First published 9 December 2003


The Nobel Prize
in Physiology or Medicine, 1905  »
Robert Koch and
Tuberculosis »
Tuberculosis - Experiments and Discoveries  »


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