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Jean-Baptiste Boussingault, chemist

Jean-Baptiste Boussingault, chemist

C028/8070

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Credit

COLLECTION ABECASIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY COLLECTION ABECASIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Jean-Baptiste Boussingault (1802-1887). French chemist and pioneer of experimental agricultural chemistry Jean-Baptiste Joseph Boussingault. After a 10 years spell in South America, Boussingault was appointed professor of chemistry at Lyons university, France. He showed that legumes (peas, beans etc.) can secure nitrogen from the air, whereas most plants, and all animals, cannot and must obtain nitrogen from their food. His work on the nutritional value of foods opened an area of study which later led to major discoveries on metabolism and on the vitamins. He first suggested the use of iodine in the treatment of goitre, but this idea was not taken up for many years.

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