Thursday, June 23, 2011

Microbiologist(s)’s pilgrimage(s) to Pasteur’s house (June 23rd, 2011)

Even though we did other things today such as the salt mine and the biodynamic winery, I've decided to have a separate blog post for the visit to Pasteur's house in Arbois [which we went to after the salt mine and winery]. Louis Pasteur moved here with his parents when he was 8, and then came back from Paris every summer to continue working/relaxing in his hometown. He had his own vineyard as well (see picture). Pasteur was the scientist who distinguished that yeast were important in wine production (not just enzymes or "ferments"). He also distinguished rods versus spheres in good and bad beer. The bad beer had bacteria instead of yeast (spheres). Another accomplishment that Pasteur was known for was disproving The Theory of Spontaneous Generation [that stated that life or microbes just occurred spontaneously with air]. And before he was known for all his microbiological work, he was also the founder of stereochemistry. And after his work on microbiology, he also came up with various vaccines, and the one for rabies is well known. And of course, he invented "pasteurization" which was meant for wine, but instead we use it for milk. Pasteurization is the heating of a substance for 165 degrees C for a few seconds in order to sterilize the substance.

The house that he lived in Arbois is now a museum. We took a tour through the house and walked around his lab!!!

The vineyard

A statue of Pasteur in town (everything in town is named after him)

Pasteur's House!

There was an exhibit outside his house. This sculpture shows three modes of replication in bacteria: budding (asexual), transfection (phage), and conjugation (pilus). I was so excited!!

The insides of Pasteur's house. He apparently loved to play billiards with his lab assistant for break-time.

After the salt mine, winery, and Pasteur's house, it was finally time for dinner! As a group we went to a tavern for a three course meal. I had a french onion soup (lots of emmental cheese!) and fondue (of Comte cheese!) with sparkling wine (can't call it champagne because it was not from Champagne, France). I was so stuffed, that I couldn't finish dessert (apple pie and vanilla bourbon ice-cream). After dinner, we walked around town to settle down the cheese in our stomachs. We walked past Pasteur's high school and the rest of town. Today was incredible and definitely tasty!

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