Theodore Nicolas Gobley: Animal physiology and plant principles

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Theodore Nicolas Gobley (1816-1878), a French pharmacist and chemist,
carried on extensive research on the composition of the brain, egg yolk, and eggs and sperm of carp, which culminated in the discovery of lecithin. After some experiments with egg yolk he was able to separate a group of known compounds together with glycerophosphoric acid, an albuminoidal matter (vitelline, similar to the white of the egg), and a nitrogenous substance different from albumin. His results indicated that the viscous matter of egg yolk was identical with the viscous matter present in brain (human, chicken and sheep); it contained the same two fatty material found in the brain, which eventually he identified as lecithin and cerebrine. Gobley also analyzed the fatty material contained in blood and found that it contained olein, margarine, cholesterol, lecithin, and cerebrine. This cholesterol was analogous with that of egg yolk and biliary calculi. He also found that cholesterol and lecithin were the main fatty material present in bile and were almost completely absorbed in the intestine. Similarly, he was able to discover cephalin in the brain. Gobley reported the identification and analysis of a series of plant principles present in faham (Jumellea fragrans), edible champignons, vanilla, and kava (Piper methysticum). The latter was found to be a powerful sudorific, and to exercise an
influence in the cure of catarrhal affections and gonorrhea
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalRevista CENIC. Ciencias Biológicas
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


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