Eduard Buchner was a 1907 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry for his work as a chemist and zymologist. He was born into an eminent educational family and lost his father when he was barely eleven years old. Hans Buchner, his elder brother, assisted him in obtaining a solid education. However, due to the financial crisis, Eduard was obliged to pause his studies for a time and worked in a preserving and canning plant. Later in life, he resumed his schooling under the tutelage of eminent scientists and got his PhD degree extremely quickly. He subsequently turned his attention to chemical fermentation. However, his time at the canning factory was not entirely in vain. Many years later, when working with his brother at the Munich Hygiene Institute, he remembered how juices were kept by adding sugar, and so he added a high dose of sucrose to the protein extract from the yeast cells. What occurred thereafter is history. Sugar was converted to carbon dioxide and alcohol in the presence of yeast enzymes. He later named the enzyme zymase. Not only did this serendipitous discovery earn him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, but it also ushered in a revolution in the science of biochemistry.
Childhood & Adolescence
Eduard Buchner was born in Munich on May 20, 1860, into a prominent Bavarian family. Ernst Buchner, his father, was an Extraordinary Professor of Forensic Medicine and Obstetrics. Additionally, he served as editor of the rztliches Intelligenzblatt (later known as the Münchener medizinische Wochenschrift). Friederike née Martin was the name of his mother.
Hans Ernst August Buchner, Eduard’s elder brother, was ten years his senior. He became a well-known bacteriologist and a pioneer in the field of immunology as a result of his upbringing. He not only assisted Eduard with his education following their father’s death in 1872, but also with his later works.
Eduard had his early education at Munich’s Maximilian Gymnasium. Later, he joined E. Erlenmeyer Srlaboratory .’s at Munich Polytechnic, which is now known as the Technical University of Munich. However, due to financial restrictions, he was unable to complete his studies there. Rather than that, he found work in a preserving and canning factory.
In 1884, he resumed his studies. He developed an interest in chemistry during his time at the Polytechnic and began studying the subject with Professor Adolf von Baeyer at the Bavarian Academy of Science in Munich.
Simultaneously, he studied botany with Professor Carl von Naegeli at the Munich Botanic Institute. Eduard grew interested in the problems of alcoholic fermentation around this time. He began working on it under the supervision of his brother, who had become a lecturer at the University of Munich at this point.
Eduard concluded after much investigation that, contrary to Pasteur’s assertion, the presence of oxygen is not a necessary prerequisite for fermentation. In 1885, he published his first paper, titled ‘Der Einfluss des Sauerstoffs Auf Gärungen,’ in which he summarized his findings (The influence of oxygen on fermentation).
During this time period, he was awarded a three-year Lamont Scholarship by the Philosophical Faculty. It enabled him to complete his doctoral thesis stress-free.
Although he finished the majority of the thesis under the supervision of Adolf von Baeyer, he spent the final term working with Otto Fischer at his Erlangen laboratory. Finally, in 1888, he earned a doctorate from the University of Munich.
Eduard Buchner’s Career
Eduard Buchner began his career in 1889 as an assistant instructor in Adolf von Baeyer’s laboratory at the University of Munich. He was appointed to the lecturer at the same university two years later, in 1891.
He also received a grant from von Baeyer at some point. With this money, he established his own laboratory and began researching chemical fermentation. In 1883, he conducted his first experiment on yeast cell rupture. However, the Laboratory’s Board of Directors determined that the experiment would yield no results, and as a result, it was put on hold for three years.
Buchner began his career as a lecturer at the University of Kiel in the autumn of the same year. He worked in T. Curius’s laboratory in the Department of Analytical Chemistry. He was appointed to associate professor at the same university in 1895.
Buchner was appointed Professor Extraordinary of Analytical Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Tübingen in 1896. Hans Buchner, his brother, had already been elected to the Board of Directors of the Munich Hygiene Institute. It possessed the infrastructure necessary for in-depth experimentation.
Eduard Buchner resumed his investigation on the contents of the yeast cell during his holidays at his brother’s laboratory in Munich. In the fall of 1896, he discovered an enzyme mixture called zymase that converted sugar to alcohol by mistake.
On January 9, 1897, he published his findings in Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft. ‘Alcoholische Gärung sans Hefezellen’ was the title of the essay (On alcoholic fermentation without yeast cells).
Nevertheless, discovering zymase was not a goal in and of itself. He was forced to defend his discoveries in the face of several objections from other scientists. Among them, Max Rubner, a physiologist, Hans von Euler-Chelpin, a biochemist, and Wilhelm Ruhland, a botanist, were the most outspoken. By 1902, Buchner had published seventeen further articles defending his idea.
Buchner was appointed to the Chair of General Chemistry at Berlin’s Königliche Landwirtschaftliche Hochschule (Royal Agricultural Academy) in October 1898. He continued his experiments and lectures here. Simultaneously, he attempted to enhance his credentials.
Buchner was habilitated by the University of Berlin in 1900. It not only enabled him to secure larger grants, but also to train his own research assistants.
His years in Berlin had been extremely fruitful. He released his book ‘Die Zymasegärung (Zymosis)’ in 1903. It was co-authored by his brother Hans Buchner and Martin Hahn. He discussed in full his research on the alcoholic fermentation of sugar in it.
Buchner was appointed to the University of Breslau’s Chair of Psychological Chemistry in 1909. He was transferred to the University of Würzburg in 1911 from there. He was present when World War I began. In August 1914, he volunteered to join the army and was recruited as a Captain.
His Significant Works
Eduard Buchner is most known for discovering zymase, a combination of enzymes that enables cell-free fermentation. Nonetheless, it was a coincidental discovery. He was then working at his brother’s laboratory in Munich, attempting to produce yeast cell-free extracts for use in immunology.
Eduard Buchner added high sucrose to the yeast cells to preserve the protein. Soon enough, bubbles began to form. He discovered that the presence of enzymes in yeast resulted in the breakdown of sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. He later named this enzyme zymase and demonstrated that it can be isolated from yeast cells. This singular accomplishment laid the groundwork for contemporary biochemistry.
Awards and Accomplishments
Eduard Buchner received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1907 “for his biochemical discoveries and invention of cell-free fermentation.”
From in 1904-1905, he was elected President of the German Chemical Society.
Personal History and Legacies
On 19 August 1900, Eduard Buchner married Lotte Stahl. Friedel, Luise, Hans, and Rudolf were the couple’s four children. Luise was one of them and perished in infancy. Friedel became a teacher, Hans became a scientist, and Rudolf became a historian.
Eduard Buchner was a Bismarck supporter. In July 1914, as World War I began, he volunteered to fight. He began as a Captain and rose to the rank of Major in the Bavarian Ammunition Column by 1916. He was, however, recalled the following year to resume teaching at Würzburg.
In 1917, he rejoined the war effort. He was again assigned to the front lines in Romania. He was struck by shrapnel on August 3, 1917, and died nine days later in the Army Field Hospital in Focşani, Romania, on August 13, 1917.
Estimated Net worth
Eduard is one of the wealthiest chemists and is mentioned on the list of the most popular chemists. According to our analysis, Wikipedia, Forbes & Business Insider, Eduard Buchner’s net worth is roughly $1.5 Million.