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Full text of "Pathogenic Bacteria"

CY OF AV/t'/yiA'A-/.                      51

ilar to the preceding except that instead of occurring in
carbohydrates it takes place in nitrogenous bodies. The
first step seems to be the transformation of the albumins
into peptones, then the splitting up of the peptones into
a large number of gases, acids, bases, and salts. In the
process the innocuous albumins are frequently changed to
toxalbumins, and sometimes to distinct animal alkaloids
known as fitomnhics. Vaughan and Now declare the
term u animal alkaloid n to be a misnomer, as ptomaines
are sometimes produced from vegetable substances in
the process of decomposition; they suggest the term
u putrefactive alkaloids'" as preferable. The definition
of a ptomaine given by these observers is ua chemicalv
compound, basic in character, formed by the action of
bacteria on organic matter." The chemistry of these
bodies is very complex, and for a satisfactory description
of them Vaughan and Novy\s book1 is brief and excel-
lent. Among the ptomaines/- the following appear to
be important: Methylamin (CnaN!L), the simplest or-
ganic base formed in the process of putrefaction; dime-
thykimin ((CH:l')2NH); trimethylamin (C,Hi(N (CIL^N);
ethylamin (C.H..NJL); diethylamin (C,lluN'' (CJUr
NH); triethylamin (C.-JI^N (CJU,HN); propylamin
(C;H7.NI-L); butylamin C,HnN); iso-umylainiu ; cuproyl-
amin ; tetanotoxin ; spasmotoxin ; cliliydrolutidin ; putres-
cin ; cadaverin ; neuridin ; saprin ; pyoeyanin ; and tyro-
toxieon. It is supposed that the cases of ice-cream and
cheese-poisoning that sometimes occur are due to tyro-
toxicon produced by the putrefaction of the proteid sub-
stances of the milk before it is fro/en into ice cream or
made into cheese. The safeguard is to freeze the milk
only when perfectly fresh and avoid adding the sugar and
flavoring substances, allowing the whole to stand some
time, and then freezing. Numerous others have been
described, some toxic, others harmless,

It is to compounds of this kind that the occasional
Pleishvergiftung" or u meat-poisoningn are