Google Doodle honours Danish scientist Hans Christian Gram for contributions to microbiology

13 Septembre, 2019, 11:33 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Google Doodle Celebrates 166th Birthday Of Hans Christian Gram

Google Doodle Friday celebrated the contributions of Danish microbiologist Hans Christian Gram, the man who behind the Gram stain - the first step in the preliminary identification of a bacterial organism. The Danish microbiologist gained global recognition for his development of the Gram stain - a method of staining bacteria, to make them more noticeable under a microscope.

The test, however, proved to be widely applicable and his staining method continues to be used even today, more than a century later. However, the staining process he created played a major role in classifying bacteria.

Hans Christian Gram earned his MD from the University of Copenhagen in 1878 and then travelled through Europe to study bacteriology and pharmacology.

The Google Doodle was illustrated by Mikkel Sommer, a Danish guest artist, who depicted the important work of Gram, who died 4 November 1938. In his early life, Gram was focused on natural science but after earning a B.A.at the Copenhagen Metropolitan School and working as an assistant in botany at a zoo, he became interested in medicine.

After years of holding several assistant positions in Copenhagen hospitals, he authored an award-winning essay on the size and number of human erythrocytes (red blood cells) in patients with chlorosis, a.k.a "green sickness", which gave them a distinct skin green tinge. His travels eventually led him to the lab of Karl Friedländer, a German microbiologist.

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During his travels, Gram noticed that treating a smear of bacteria with a cocktail of crystal violet stain, organic solvent, and iodine solution would reveal key differences in the structure and biochemical function of various samples.

Gram staining can help tell types of bacteria apart. Like the cell walls of Gram-negative bacteria will not take up the Gram's stain, it will not take up penicillin either.

Gram published his findings in a scholarly journal in 1884, and the terms "Gram-positive" and "Gram-negative" was coined.

Gram-positive bacteria remained purple because they have a single thick cell wall that is not easily penetrated by the solvent.

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