Pettenkofer Was a Hygienist worked To Determine bile acids

Max Josef von Pettenkofer – founder of modern hygiene methods

Category : Personalities
Published by : Data Research Analyst, Worldofchemicals.com

Biography & contributions

Max Josef von Pettenkofer was a Bavarian chemist and hygienist born on December 13, 1883 – died on February 10, 1901. Pettenkofer was a principle founder of public health medicine/hygiene.

He published papers on

  • The preparation of gold and platinum
  • Numerical relations between the atomic weights of analogous elements
  • The formation of aventurine glass
  • The manufacture of illuminating gas from wood
  • The preservation of oil-paintings

Pettenkofer proposed ground water theory. He developed commercially important methods for the improved separation of precious metals and for generating illuminating gas from wood. Pettenkofer worked out a method for determining bile acids. He anticipated, in part, the periodic law of the elements.

Pettenkofer was the first to isolate creatinine in urine and determined its elemental composition. He set to work to improve methods of separating silver and gold, discovered platinum in the semipurifed ores, and devised methods for its isolation. Petenkofer had experience in measuring gas movements and CO2.

He recognized that the chief function of clothing was to slow the movement of air to the body surface, allowing it to be warmed or cooled, preferably to about 24 to 30° before reaching the skin. He also developed a copper amalgam, which was widely used for filing cavities in teeth, and a method of producing a god grade of concrete from local materials. He took a major role in developing a method to manufacture illuminating gas from wood.

Bile Acids


Bile acids are conjugated with taurine or glycine in the liver, forming bile salts. Bile acids are steroid acids found predominantly in the bile of mammals and other vertebrates. In humans, taurocholic acid and glycocholic acid and taurochenodeoxycholic acid and glycochenodeoxycholic acid represent approximately 80% of all bile salts in bile. Bile acids comprise about 80% of the organic compounds in bile. An increased secretion of bile acids produces an increase in bile flow. Bile acid synthesis occurs in liver cells which synthesize primary bile acids via cytochrome P450-mediated oxidation of cholesterol in a multi-step process.

Bile acids also serve other functions, including eliminating cholesterol from the body, driving the flow of bile to eliminate certain catabolites, emulsifying fat-soluble vitamins to enable their absorption, and aiding in motility and the reduction of the bacteria flora found in the small intestine and biliary tract. Bile acids also have metabolic actions in the body resembling those of hormones acting through two receptors, the farnesoid X receptor and TGR5.

Bile acids also act as steroid hormones, secreted from the liver, absorbed from the intestine and having various direct metabolic actions in the body through the nuclear receptor Farnesoid X receptor

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