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Albrecht Kossel

Albrecht Kossel
Born 16 September 1853 (1853-09-16)
Died 5 July 1927 (1927-07-06)
Nationality German
Alma mater University of Strasbourg
University of Rostock
Doctoral students Edwin B. Hart
Known for nucleic acids
Notable awards 1910 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Ludwig Karl Martin Leonhard Albrecht Kossel (16 September 1853 – 5 July 1927) was a German medical doctor.


Kossel was born in Rostock as the son of Prussian consul Albrecht Kossel and his wife Clara. In 1872, Kossel went to the University of Strasbourg to study medicine, where he visited lectures of Anton de Bary, Waldeyer, Kundt, Baeyer and Felix Hoppe-Seyler. He graduated in 1878 at the University of Rostock.

Kossel was awarded the 1910 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for research in cell biology, especially proteins and nucleic acids. He also discovered the amino acid histidine (1896), thymic acid and agmatine (1910).

Kossel's field of work was physiological chemistry, especially the chemistry of tissues and cells. He began his investigations into the constitution of the cell nucleus at the end of 1880, and in the nineties he began his investigations of proteins, the alterations in proteins during transformation into peptone, the effects of a phenetol diet on the urine, the peptonic components of the cells. In 1896 he discovered histidine, then worked out the classical method for the quantitaive separation of the hexone bases. With his distinguished English pupil Henry Drysdale Dakin he investigated arginase, the ferment which hydrolyses arginine into urea and ornithine, and later he discovered agmatine in herring roe and devised a method for preparing it.

One of Kossel's students was American biochemist Edwin B. Hart, who would later return to the United States to participate in the "Single-grain experiment" (1907–1911) and be part of research teams that would determine the nutritive causes of anemia and goiter.

Kossel had one daughter and one son, Walther (1888–1956), who was a prominent Professor of Theoretical Physics at Danzig Institute of Technology (1932–1945).

Selected works

  • Untersuchungen über die Nukleine und ihre Spaltungsprodukte ("Investigations into the nucleins and their cleavage products", 1881)
  • Die Gewebe des menschlichen Körpers und ihre mikroskopische Untersuchung ("The tissues in the human body and their microscopic investigation", 1889–1891)
  • Leitfaden für medizinisch-chemische Kurse ("Textbook for medical-chemical courses", 1888)
  • Die Probleme der Biochemie ("The problems of biochemistry", 1908
  • Die Beziehungen der Chemie zur Physiologie ("The relationships between chemistry and physiology", 1913)


  • Shampo, M A; Kyle R A (March 1976). "Albrecht Kossel". JAMA 235 (12): 1234. doi:10.1001/jama.235.12.1234. PMID 765517.  
  • Sulek, K (July 1967). "[1910. Prize for Albrecht Kossel for the contribution to the science in his works on proteins particularly on nucleoproteins]". Wiad. Lek. 20 (13): 1315. PMID 4864628.  
  • JONES, M E (September 1953). "Albrecht Kossel, a biographical sketch". The Yale journal of biology and medicine 26 (1): 80–97. PMID 13103145.  

Simple English

Albrecht Kossel
File:Kossel, Albrecht (1853-1927).jpg
Albrecht Kossel
Born16 September 1853
Rostock, Germany
Died5 July 1927
InstitutionsUniversity of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
Alma materUniversity of Strassburg
Notable prizesNobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1910)

Albrecht Kossel (16 September 1853 – 5 July 1927) was a German doctor.[1] He won the 1910 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his work on proteins and nucleic substances. He discovered histones, which package and regulate DNA transcription.[2]



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