23 – Sertürner – First of the Alkaloid Chemists

Swedish pharmacist Scheele paved the way for isolating organic plant acids; but it remained for a young German apothecary, Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner, to give the world opium’s chief narcotic principle, morphine; and to recognize and prove the importance of a new class of organic substances: alkaloids. His first announcements challenged, Sertürner in 1816 conducted a new series of bold, startling experiments in his apothecary shop in Einbeck, including a series of physiologic tests on himself and three young friends. Recognition and fame followed. Relocating in an apothecary shop in Hameln, Sertürner continued organic chemical experimentation and discovery throughout his life.

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