What are Robert Koch's contributions to microbiology?

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saintfester | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Robert Koch was actually named Heinrich Herman Robert Koch, and is widely considered the founder of the field of Microbiology. His most important achievements include his studies relating to tuberculosis and to the transmission of anthrax between cows and humans. Koch helped move forward our understanding of blood-born diseases as well as was in which you could grow cultures of bacteria in order to try various methods of eradication and treatment. He discovered that tuberculosis, which killed 1 in 7 people in the mid 19th century, was caused by the bacteria Tubercle Bacilli. This would be the first crucial step in the treatment of the disease. He won the Noble Prize for this achievement.

However, he also postulated many theories that have since been proven regarding the nature of disease.  He said that in order to establish that an organism causes a diseases, it must adhere to certain principals, such as it must be absent in healthy organisms, it can be cultured in a lab and it can produce an original infection. These postulates are the basis for Microbiolog

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Robert Koch was a German doctor who did a lot of work in the field of microbiology. He was very successful in his work and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1905 for his work and research on the study of diseases.

Robert Koch made many contributions to the field of microbiology. He was able to develop specific ways to attack bacteria. He also was able to determine what bacteria were the cause of anthrax. Robert Koch developed a way to make it easier to observe bacteria. This was the known as the Petri dish. He also found the causes to various diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, and typhus. Finally, Robert Koch made it easier to see bacteria under a microscope by staining it.

Robert Koch’s work made significant advances in the treatment of diseases.

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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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He was the first person to discover the precise cause of anthrax to be the bacteria Bacillus anthracis through the use of cultures. It is this discovery that paved way for a breakthrough in the area of infectious diseases. In the 1880’s, Koch developed a guideline known as Koch’s four postulates, to be used in establishing the cause of infectious diseases and which is the standard procedure used in laboratories to date. By following Koch’s postulates, one is able to arrive at the causative agent of a disease through isolation. In other words, one is able to identify the exact microorganism that causes a certain disease. He was also interested in the cholera epidemic that hit various countries in the world and even though another scientist had already isolated the causative agent of cholera, Koch’s identification of the bacterium Vibrio cholera was more conclusive. Robert Koch was also the first individual to dispel the assertion that tuberculosis is an inherited ailment by distinguishing its causative agent to be Mycobacterium tuberculosis in 1882. Koch mentored many students who through the use of his four postulates discovered the disease-causing agents of syphilis, pneumonia, tetanus and leprosy among others. His extensive works in the field of microbiology earned him several accolades and he is even referred to as the father of microbiology.


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