Otto Fritz Meyerhof
Born: 12 April 1884, Hanover, Germany
Died: 6 October 1951, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Kiel University, Kiel, Germany
Prize motivation: "for his discovery of the fixed relationship between the consumption of oxygen and the metabolism of lactic acid in the muscle."
Prize share: 1/2
In order to work, our muscles need energy, which is released by chemical processes. Conversions between carbohydrates and lactic acid play an important role here. At the end of the 1910s Otto Meyerhof mapped these conversions by measuring heat trends and oxygen consumption in frog muscles. When the muscle is working, lactic acid is formed from carbohydrates, and Otto Meyerhof showed that during recovery, this is followed partly by the burning of lactic acid and partly by reprocessing of lactic acid to carbohydrates.