Agostino Bassi

Infobox Scientist
name = Agostino Bassi
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image_width =150px
caption = Agostino Bassi
birth_date = September 25, 1773
birth_place = Lodi, Lombardy
death_date = February 8, 1856
death_place = Lodi, Lombardy
residence =
citizenship =
nationality = Italian
ethnicity =
field = entomology
work_institutions =
alma_mater =
doctoral_advisor =
doctoral_students =
known_for = Beauveria bassiana
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author_abbrev_zoo =
influences = Lazzaro Spallanzani
influenced = Louis Pasteur
prizes =
religion =
footnotes =

Agostino Bassi, sometimes called de Lodi, (September 25, 1773, near Lodi, LombardyFebruary 8, 1856, in Lodi) was an Italian entomologist. He preceded Louis Pasteur in the discovery that microorganisms can be the cause of disease (the germ theory of disease). He discovered that the muscardine disease of silkworms was caused by a living, very small, parasitic organism, a fungus that would be named eventually "Beauveria bassiana" in his honor. In 1844, he stated the idea that not only animal (insect), but also human diseases are caused by other living microorganisms; for example, measles, syphilis, and the plague.

He was the son of a wealthy farmer and a lawyer who also had a passion for biology. However, his father did not want him to take up biology, but wanted him instead to look after the family's property, to become a civil servant and to join the Imperial administration.

Bassi did so, but also followed the lessons of Lazzaro Spallanzani, a relative, until he died.His studies of 1807 concerned "mal de segno" (also known as muscardine, after a French candy), a lethal disease of domestic silkworms ("Bombyx mori"). Infested caterpillars are covered with a fine white powder and die. This disease initially appeared in Italy around 1805; then in France, by 1841. After 1849, the silk farms were almost all abandoned because of this devastating disease. The research to find the cause of this disease took him 25 years. Bassi published the results of his investigations in a paper entitled "Del mal del segno, calcinaccio o moscardino" (1835), stating that a living entity was the culprit, and that it was contagious; we now know that the powdery appearance on the killed silkworms is caused by the production of millions of infectious white fungal spores on the dead insect (see "Beauveria bassiana"). He is credited with rescuing the economically important silk industry, by recommendations like the use of disinfectants; separating the rows of feeding caterpillars; isolating and destroying infected caterpillars; and keeping the farms clean. This brought Bassi immediate fame. "Del Mal del Segno, Calcinaccio o Moscardino" was translated into French and distributed throughout Europe.

From this work he expanded on a theory explaining that many diseases of plants, animals and human beings were caused by pathogenic organisms. He thus preceded the work of Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch. He was also the author of work on the culture of potatoes, on cheese, wine making, leprosy and cholera.Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was greatly influenced by his work. Pasteur had the portraits of both Spallanzani and Bassi in his office.

Bassi’s tomb in Lodi

Agostino Bassi was buried in the beautiful Romanesque church of Saint Francis (13th century), evocative and rich of frescos. His tomb can be seen in the right transept, laid to a wall, at the ground level.

Philately

In 1953 the Italian post office issued a stamp on the 180th anniversary of Bassi's birth in 1773. The stamp features a portrait of Bassi bordered by silkmoth adults and pupae [http://www.bugsonstamps.com/italy/italy_01_moth.htm] .

References

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Kyle
first=R A
authorlink=
coauthors=Shampo M A
year=1979
month=Apr
title=Agostino Bassi
journal=JAMA
volume=241
issue=15
pages=1584
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 372592
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =
doi=10.1001/jama.241.15.1584

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Ronchese
first=F
authorlink=
year=1976
month=Mar
title=Agostino Bassi (1773-1856)
journal=Rhode Island medical journal
volume=59
issue=3
pages=111–2
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 778982
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Porter
first=J R
authorlink=
year=1973
month=Sep
title=Agostino Bassi bicentennial (1773-1973)
journal=Bacteriological reviews
volume=37
issue=3
pages=284–8
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 4585794
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=HUARD
first=P
authorlink=
year=1956
month=Nov
title= [Anniversary of the death of Agostino Bassi.]
journal=Le Progrés médical
volume=84
issue=22
pages=421–2
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 13389569
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=HARANT
first=H
authorlink=
coauthors=THEODORIDES J
year=1956
month=Nov
title= [A pioneer of parasitology and a forerunner of the Pasteur doctrine: Agostino Bassi (1773-1856).]
journal=Montpellier médical
volume=50
issue=3
pages=393–9
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 13407643
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=ARCIERI
first=G P
authorlink=
year=1956
month=
title=Agostino Bassi in the history of medical thought: A. Bassi and L. Pasteur
journal=Rivista di storia delle scienze mediche e naturali
volume=47
issue=Suppl
pages=1–40
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 13421588
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=DOSSENA
first=G
authorlink=
year=1954
month=Jan
title= [Debt of medicine to Agostino Bassi.]
journal=Rivista d'ostetricia e ginecologia pratica
volume=36
issue=1
pages=43–53
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 13168166
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

External links

* [http://himetop.wikidot.com/agostino-bassi Some places and memories related to Agostino Bassi]


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