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Franz Ritter von Soxhlet

Born  1848
Died  1926

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German chemist and nutritional physiologist, born January 13, 1848, Brünn (Brno), Mähren (Moravia); died May 5, 1926, Munich.

Biography of Franz Ritter von Soxhlet

Franz von Soxhlet was the son of a Belgian immigrant. After completing his chemical studies with a PhD in Leipzig in 1872, he became an assistant at the institute of agriculture and animal chemistry – Landwirtschaftliches und tierphysiologisches Institut – in Leipzig. In 1873 he was appointed assistant at the Landwirtschaftlich-chemische Versuchsanstalt in Vienna. From 1879 to 1913 he was professor of animal physiology and dairy at the technical high school in Munich, besides being entrusted the leadership of the Landwirtschaftliche Versuchsstation für Bayern at this school. In 1894 he earned a degree in medicine from the University of Halle.

Soxhlet earned himself a place in the history of medicine for his work on the sterilisation of infant nourishment (Säuglingsnahrung) in single portions, being referred to as the "reformer of infant nutrition". Besides the method of milk and the nutritional sugar named for him. In 1886 he described "pasteurization" of milk to prevent spoilage and transmission of diseases: In 1893, he described the chemical differences between human and cow milk, and in 1900, he investigated the relationships between the milk content in calcium salts and the rachitis frequency. Soxhlet is also known as the first scientist who fractionated the milk proteins in casein, albumin, globulin and lactoprotein. Furthermore, he described for the first time the sugar present in milk, lactose.

Franz von Soxhlet was considered a very intelligent man and a scientist clever in several domains. He was an estimated teacher, a prolific scientist and an ingenious inventor.


  • Über Kindermilch und Säuglings-Ernährung.
    Münchener medizinische Wochenschrift, 1886, 33: 253, 276.
  • Ein verbessertes Verfahren der Milchsterilisation. Munich, 1891.
  • Über den chemischen Unteschied zwischen Kuh- und Frauenmilch. Munich, 1893.
  • Milton J. Rosenau:
    The Milk Question. Haughton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1913.
    In 1906, Rosenau established that low temperature, slow pasteurization [60 °C] for 20 minutes) killed pathogens without spoiling the taste, thus eliminating a key obstacle to public acceptance of pasteurized milk.
  • Otto Rommel (1880-1965):
    Franz von Soxhlet. Münchener Medizinische Wochenschrift, 1926, 73: 994-995.

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