Richard Altmann (12 March 1852 – 8 December 1900) was a German pathologist
from Deutsch Eylau
in the Province of Prussia
Altmann studied medicine in Greifswald
, and Giessen
, obtaining a doctorate at the University of Giessen
in 1877. He then worked as a prosector
, and in 1887 became an anatomy
professor (extraordinary). He died in Hubertusburg
in 1900 from a nervous disorder.
He improved fixation methods, for instance, his solution of potassium dichromate
and osmium tetroxide
[William Bechtel, ''Discovering Cell Mechanisms: The Creation of Modern Cell Biology'' (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009)]
Using that along with a new staining technique of applying acid-fuchsin
contrasted by picric acid
amid delicate heating, he observed filaments in the nearly all cell types, developed from granules.
[Erik Nordenskiöld, ] He named the granules "bioblasts", and explained them as the elementary living units, having metabolic and genetic autonomy, in his 1890 book "''Die Elementarorganismen''" ("The Elementary Organism"). His explanation drew much skepticism and harsh criticism. Altmann's granules are now believed to be mitochondria.
He is credited with coining the term "nucleic acid" in 1889, replacing Friedrich Miescher's term "nuclein" when it was demonstrated that nuclein was acidic.
The History of Biology
' (New York: Knopf, 1935)
* ''Über Nucleinsäuren''. Archiv für Anatomie und Physiologie. Physiologische Abteilung. Leipzig, 1889.
* ''Zur Geschichte der Zelltheorien'' ("The history of cell theories") . Ein Vortrag. Leipzig, 1889.
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Mitochondrial Medicine Center
Category:People from Iława
Category:People from the Province of Prussia
Category:University of Greifswald alumni
Category:University of Königsberg alumni
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Category:University of Giessen alumni
Category:Leipzig University faculty