Pettenkofer, Max von

Pettenkofer, Max von

Pettenkofer, Max von (mäks fən pĕtˈənkōˌfər), 1818–1901, German chemist and hygienist. He studied medicine at Munich. Pettenkofer is considered a founder of epidemiology and is known for his researches in the ventilation of dwellings, sewage disposal, and the spread of cholera. He developed a reaction for the detection of bile acids and a method for the quantitative determination of carbon dioxide.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pettenkofer, Max Von


Born Dec. 3, 1818, in Lichten-heim, Lower Bavaria; died Feb. 10, 1901, in Munich. German hygienist, founder of experimental hygiene. Member (1847) and president (from 1890) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences.

Beginning in 1837, Pettenkofer first studied in the natural-science faculty and then in the medical faculty of the University of Munich, graduating in 1843. In 1847 he became a professor of medical chemistry in Munich. From 1849 he worked in the Bavarian and from 1876 in the German bureaus of public health. In 1879, in Munich, he founded the first institute of hygiene in Europe, which he headed until the end of his life.

Pettenkofer’s works laid the basis for the hygiene of water, air, food, soil, and clothing. Pettenkofer developed and put into practice a method of determining carbon dioxide in air, proposing to use this as an indicator of the cleanliness of air in living quarters and work areas. He experimentally substantiated the use of sanitary measures in cities, which led to substantial decreases in urban mortality in Great Britain and Germany. Together with C. von Voit, he developed the first hygienic norms of nutrition. From 1865 he and von Voit published the journal Zeitschrift für Biologie, and from 1883, Archiv für Hygiene. Pettenkofer created an important school of hygienists. The Russian scientists F. F. Erisman, A. P. Dobroslavin, and V. A. Subbotin furthered their studies under Pettenkofer.


Der Boden und sein Zusammenhang mit der Gesundheit des Menschen. Berlin, 1882.
Handbuch der Hygiene und der Gewerbekrankheiten, parts 1-3. Leipzig, 1882-94. (With H. Ziemssen.)
In Russian translation:
O vazhnosti obshchestvennogo zdorov’ia dlia goroda. St. Petersburg, 1873.
Kanalizatsiia i vyvoz nechistot. Moscow, 1877.
Kholera. St. Petersburg, 1885.
O kholere s obrashcheniem vnimaniia na posledniuiu epidemiiu kholery v Gamburge. St. Petersburg, 1892.


Glazer, H. Dramaticheskaia meditisina, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from German.)
Bazanov, V. A. F. F. Erisman (1842-1915). Leningrad, 1966.
Shtreis, A. I. “Maks Pettenkofer [K 150-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia].” Gigiena i sanitariia, 1969, no. 4.
Wolter, F. Die Grundlagen der beiden Hauptrichtungen in der epidemi-ologischen Forschung. Munich, 1926.
Müller-Dietz, H. “H. M. von Pettenkofer und der Moskauer Hygieniker F. Erismann.” Münchener Medizinische Wochenschrift, 1969, no. 11.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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