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Corentin Louis Kervran (Quimper, Finistère (Brittany) 1901 - 2 February 1983) was a French scientist best known for his defense of the unconventional belief in biological transmutation.[1] In WWII he was part of the French Resistance. He was a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, Director of Conferences of the Paris University, Member of Conseil d'Hygiene de la Seine, a Member of the Commission du Conseil Supérieur de la Recherche Scientifique (1966). He was the recognised expert on radiation poisoning for the French government since 1945. His use of the word transmutation led his scientific work to be associated with alchemy and alienated him from the majority of mainstream scientific community. The most readable English introduction to his work can be found inThe Secret Life of Plants[2] in a chapter called "Alchemists in the garden".

To support his claims of biological transmutation, Louis Kervran cited several dubious statistics as well as conducted his own experiments. It had been observed that Sahara oilfield workers excreted a daily average of 320 mg more calcium than they ingested without bone decalcification occurring. Some strange cases of industrial accidents (1955) showing CO poisoning when no CO was inhaled led Kervran to postulate the dissociation of a nitrogen molecule into carbon monoxide through the displacement of a proton at low energy. At January in 1961, he had reported this working hypothesis to Conseil d'Hygiene de la Seine and the digestive report had been published in L'usine nouvelle in 1961.[3] His first treatise concerning to Transmutation-theory is titled "Bilan metaboliques anormaux et transmutations biologiques", which had been published in Revue generale des sciences.

There are a few examples of his work being corroborated. In 1978 a report was issued by the U.S. Army Mobility Equipment Research and Development Command proposing Magnesium adenosine triphosphate, located in the mitochondrion of the cell, provided the energy for the effects observed by Kervran and Komaki. "It was concluded that elemental transmutations were indeed occurring in life organisms and were probably accompanied by net energy gain".[4] However this work was never followed up, and lies well outside mainstream scientific understanding of biology.


Calcium anomalies in chicken eggshells

Kervran initiated his fascination for science with the apparent enigma of eggshell formation. As a youth Kervran had read a reference to Louis Nicolas Vauquelin's observations on the formation of eggshell in Gustave Flaubert's "Bouvard et Pécuchet". Kervran later succeeded in finding Vauquelin's original text on the apparent anomalous increase in calcium in a chicken whose diet is limited to potassium-rich oats. How did it continue to produce eggs with calcareous shells on a calcium poor diet on a soil entirely lacking in limestone?

Contemporary biochemist believed that chickens fed on the calcium reserve of their skeletons to produce eggs. Kervran did not accept this since chickens deprived of calcium laid soft-shelled egg until they ingested the potassium-rich oats, at which point they laid calcareous hard-shelled eggs. Kervran did not consider how the potassium could contribute to other chemical based biological pathways that lead to shell hardening.

In response to Kervran ideas Nuclear scientists stated if the chickens were to turn potassium into calcium at the rate of several grams a day, the released nuclear fusion energy of the order of 8 MeV would have turned them into atom bombs. Kervran rationalized this discrepancy by believing that the transformation of potassium into calcium (transmutation) happened at low energy. This became Kervran's thesis on which he staked his career. He developed a different model of low-energy transmutation that he called "frittage".

The scientists who collaborated with Kervran on many of his specialized experiments gradually referred to the thesis of transmutation at low energy as the "Kervran effect".


Kervran was largely ignored by the scientific community with scarce literature citation and no effect on mainstream models of biology. Neither is he well known for promoting a pathological science or pseudoscience although he received the Ig Nobel Prize for Physics in 1993.

Mainstream biology finds no anomalies in the nutrient uptake and release of hens, plants, or any other organism. All biological functions can be explained through chemical diffusion and chemical reactions requiring no nuclear reactions. Kervran's claim that N2 was converted to CO does not consider the vast chemical pathways that can convert oxygen and carbon containing molecules into CO, or the possibility of exposure to carbon monoxide, or that the oil field works nutrient diet may have been misreported or mis-measured.

Selected works

  • Transmutations naturelles non radioactives ; une propriete nouvelle de la matiere Paris : Librairie Maloine, (1963) OCLC 21388057
  • Transmutations à la faible énergie : synthèse et développements (1964) Paris : Maloine OCLC 35460556
  • A la découverte des transmutations biologiques : une explication des phénomènes biologiques aberrants (1966) Paris : Le Courrier du livre OCLC 30562980
  • Preuves en géologie et physique de transmutations à faible énergie (1973) Paris : Maloine ISBN 2224000537 OCLC 914685
  • Preuves en biologie de transmutations à faible énergie (1975) Paris : Maloine ISBN 2224001789 OCLC 1603879

Book translations into English:

  • Biological Transmutations C. Louis Kervran, translation and adaptation by Michel Abehsera, 1989, 1998 (first published in 1972) ISBN 0-916508-47-1 OCLC 301517796 (extract of three of Kervran's books)
  • Biological transmutations, revised and edited by Herbert & Elizabeth Rosenauer, London, Crosby Lockwood 1972 (reprinted by Beekman, New York, in 1998 under ISBN 0-8464-0195-9)


  1. ^ Kervran, Louis C. (1989-01). Biological Transmutations. Happiness Pr. ISBN 0916508471.  
  2. ^ Tompkins, Peter; Christopher Bird (1989-03-08). The Secret Life of Plants. Harper Paperbacks. ISBN 0060915870.  
  3. ^ "Les intoxications par l'oxide de carbone dans les ateliers de soudure ou de traitement thermique des metaux",L'usine nouvelle,1961.
  4. ^ Solomon Goldfein: Report 2247, Energy Development from Elemental Transmutations in Biological Systems -USAM.E.R&D.C.- DDC No AD AO 56906

Further reading

  • Corentin Louis Kervran: "Hors-d'œuvre", an autobiographical note in Preuves en Biologie de Transmutations a Faible Energie Paris: Maloine S.A., 1975

See also

External links



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