Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/663

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
643
A COMBAT WITH AN INFECTIVE ATMOSPHERE.

infusions to ascertain the cause of that turbidity, you find it to be produced by swarms of small active organisms.

This year our inquiries began in the month of September. But we will pass over these inquiries for the moment and go to those of October. On October 29th, two members of the Royal Institution collected a quantity of fungi in Heathfield Park, Sussex. These were

PSM V10 D663 Incubating experiments of tyndall.jpg
Fig. 1.

brought to London on the 30th. They were placed for three hours in warm water, and, whatever juices they possessed, were thus extracted from them. They were placed in chambers and digested separately. There were three kinds of fungi; we will call them red, yellow, and black. Now, I confess that, thinking I had secured a perfect freedom from any invasion of those contaminating organisms that produce putrefaction, I expected that we should find that these infusions of fungus would maintain themselves perfectly clear. To my surprise, in three days the whole of them broke down; they became turbid, and covered by a peculiar fatty, deeply indented, corrugated scum. Well, that was a result not expected, but I pursued the matter further. I got another supply of fungi. Even in this first experiment, I had used care at least as great as that which I adopted last year, and which led to a perfect immunity from the invasion of putrefaction. With the fresh supply of fungi, I operated with still more scrupulous care. The infusions were placed as before in three chambers. In one of these, the infusion remained perfectly pellucid;