Eduard Buchner

Eduard Buchner (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]

Eduard Buchner
Born(1860-05-20)20 May 1860
Died13 August 1917(1917-08-13) (aged 57)
Cause of deathKilled in action
Alma materUniversity of Munich
Known forMannich reaction
AwardsNobel Prize in Chemistry (1907)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Munich
University of Kiel
Agricultural University of Berlin
University of Tübingen
University of Breslau
University of Würzburg
Doctoral advisorTheodor Curtius


Early yearsEdit

Buchner was born in Munich to a physician and Doctor Extraordinary of Forensic Medicine. His older brother was 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 PrizeEdit

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][8]

Personal lifeEdit

Buchner married Lotte Stahl in 1900. At the outbreak of the First World War he volunteered 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 Wurzburg. In April 1917 he volunteered again. On 11 August 1917, while stationed at Focșani, Romania, he was hit by a shell fragment and died two days later.[9] He died in the Battle of Mărășești and is buried in the cemetery of German soldiers from Focșani, Romania.[9]

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.[10]


  • Eduard Buchner (1897). "Alkoholische Gährung ohne Hefezellen (Vorläufige Mitteilung)". Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft. 30: 117–124. doi:10.1002/cber.18970300121.
  • Eduard Buchner, Rudolf Rapp (1899). "Alkoholische Gährung ohne Hefezellen". Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft. 32 (2): 2086–2094. doi:10.1002/cber.189903202123.
  • Robert Kohler (1971). "The background to Eduard Buchner's discovery of cell-free fermentation". Journal of the History of Biology. 4 (1): 35–61. doi:10.1007/BF00356976. PMID 11609437. S2CID 46573308.
  • Robert Kohler (1972). "The reception of Eduard Buchner's discovery of cell-free fermentation". Journal of the History of Biology. 5 (2): 327–353. doi:10.1007/BF00346663. PMID 11610124. S2CID 34944527.


  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. Biographical encyclopedia of science and technology. 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). Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  6. ^ Cornish-Bowden, Athel (1999). "The Origins of Enzymology". The Biochemist. 19 (2): 36–38. Retrieved 2017-10-18.
  7. ^ Buchner E, Rapp, R (1898). "Alkoholische Gährung ohne Hefezellen". Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft. 30: 209–217.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Srinivasan, Bharath (2020-09-27). "Words of advice: teaching enzyme kinetics". The FEBS Journal. doi:10.1111/febs.15537. ISSN 1742-464X.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.

External linksEdit