Eduard Buchner
Buchner in 1907
Born(1860-05-20)20 May 1860
Died13 August 1917(1917-08-13) (aged 57)
Alma materUniversity of Munich
Known forCell-free fermentation, Buchner ring expansion, Büchner–Curtius–Schlotterbeck reaction, Enzymes, Zymase
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Munich
University of Kiel
Agricultural University of Berlin
University of Tübingen
University of Breslau
University of Würzburg
Doctoral advisorTheodor Curtius

Eduard Buchner (German pronunciation: [ˈeːduaʁt ˈbuːxnɐ] ; 20 May 1860 – 13 August 1917) was a German chemist and zymologist, awarded the 1907 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on fermentation.[1]


Early years

Buchner was born in Munich to a physician and Doctor Extraordinary of Forensic Medicine. His older brother was the bacteriologist Hans Ernst August Buchner.[2] In 1884, he began studies of chemistry with Adolf von Baeyer and of botany with Carl Nägeli, at the Botanic Institute in Munich. After a period working with Otto Fischer (cousin of Emil Fischer[3]) at the University of Erlangen, Buchner was awarded a doctorate from the University of Munich in 1888 under Theodor Curtius.[1]


Buchner was appointed assistant lecturer in the organic laboratory of Adolf von Baeyer in 1889 at the University of Munich. In 1891, he was promoted to lecturer at the same university.[1]

In the autumn of 1893, Buchner moved to University of Kiel and appointed professor in 1895. In the next year he was appointed Professor Extraordinary for Analytical and Pharmaceutical Chemistry in the chemical laboratory of H. von Pechmann at the University of Tübingen.[1]

In October, 1898, he was appointed to the Chair of General Chemistry in the Agricultural University of Berlin, fully training his assistants by himself, and received his rehabilitation in 1900.[1][4]

In 1909, he was transferred to the University of Breslau (reorganised to be University of Wrocław in 1945[5]), and in 1911, he moved to University of Würzburg.[1]

The Nobel Prize

Buchner received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1907.[1] The experiment for which Buchner won the Nobel Prize consisted of producing a cell-free extract of yeast cells and showing that this "press juice" could ferment sugar. This dealt yet another blow to vitalism by showing that the presence of living yeast cells was not needed for fermentation. The cell-free extract was produced by combining dry yeast cells, quartz and kieselguhr and then pulverizing the yeast cells with a pestle and mortar. This mixture would then become moist as the yeast cells' contents would come out of the cells. Once this step was done, the moist mixture would be put through a press and the resulting "press juice" had glucose, fructose, or maltose added and carbon dioxide was seen to evolve, sometimes for days. Microscopic investigation revealed no living yeast cells in the extract. Buchner hypothesized that yeast cells secrete proteins into their environment in order to ferment sugars, but it was later found that fermentation occurs inside the yeast cells. Maria Manasseina claimed to have discovered free-cell fermentation a generation earlier than Buchner,[6] but Buchner and Rapp considered that she was subjectively convinced of the existence of an enzyme of fermentation, and that her experimental evidence was unconvincing.[7]

Personal life

Buchner married Lotte Stahl in 1900. At the outbreak of the First World War, he volunteered in the Imperial German Army and rose to the rank of Major, commanding a munition-transport unit on the Western and then Eastern Front. In March 1916, he returned the University of Würzburg. In April 1917, he volunteered again. On 11 August 1917, while stationed at Focșani, Romania, he was hit by a shell fragment in the left thigh and died in a field hospital two days later.[8] He died in the Battle of Mărășești and is buried in the cemetery of German soldiers in Focșani.[8]

Though it is believed by some that the Büchner flask and the Büchner funnel are named for him, they are actually named for the industrial chemist Ernst Büchner.[9]


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Eduard Buchner – Biographical". Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  2. ^ Asimov, I. (1982). Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology: The Lives and Achievements of 1510 Great Scientists from Ancient Times to the Present Chronologically Arranged. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-17771-9.
  3. ^ "Emil Fischer - Biographical". Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  4. ^ "Eduard Buchner - Universitäts-Archiv". Archived from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  5. ^ "History of the University of Wrocław". Uniwersytet Wrocławski (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2021-06-10. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  6. ^ Cornish-Bowden, Athel (1999). "The Origins of Enzymology". The Biochemist. 19 (2): 36–38. Archived from the original on 2014-08-26. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  7. ^ Buchner E, Rapp, R (1898). "Alkoholische Gährung ohne Hefezellen". Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft. 30: 209–217.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ a b Ukrow, Rolf (2004). Nobelpreisträger Eduard Buchner (1860 – 1917) Ein Leben für die Chemie der Gärungen und - fast vergessen - für die organische Chemie (German). Berlin. doi:10.14279/depositonce-992.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. ^ Jensen, William (2006). "The Origins of the Hirsch and Büchner Vacuum Filtration Funnels". Journal of Chemical Education. 83 (9): 1283. Bibcode:2006JChEd..83.1283J. doi:10.1021/ed083p1283. Archived from the original on 2009-08-29.