Dates: b. 1861; 1890's 1900's; d. 1943
Locations: Bacteriologist and Mycologist for Delaware College & Agricultural Experiment Station and Dir. Laboratory of Pathology and Bacteriology, for the Delaware State Board of Health (1890's 1900's)
Fields: soil; BACT-NOM; water; public health; plant pathology; poultry pathology; veterinary
Publications: "The State Line Serpentine and Associated Rocks," Ann. Rept. 2nd Geological Survey, Penns., 1887 (1887): 93‑105; "The Dept. of Botany and Plant Pathology," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 3 (1888): 1‑8; "Seed Testing," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 5 (1889): 1‑18; A.T. Neale, Chester, and M.H. Beckwith, "The Possibilities of Developing a Domestic Sugar Industry, Value of Sulphide of Potassium as a Remedy Against Pear Scab," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 8 (1890): 1‑16; "Diseases of the Vine," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 10 (1890): 1‑32; "The Gabbros and Associated Rocks in Delaware," Bull. U.S. Geol. Survey no. 59 (1890): 1‑45; "Notes on Three New and Noteworthy Diseases of Plants," Bull. Torrey Botanical Club. 18 (12 Dec. 1891): 371‑374; "The Treatment of the Leaf Blight of the Pear and Quince," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 13 (1891): 1‑16; "Diseases of Crops and Their Treatment," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 15 (1892): 1‑16; "Can Peach Rot Be Controlled by Spraying?" Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 19 (1892); 1‑16; "Experiments in the Treatment of Peach Rot and of Apple Scab," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 29 (1895): 1‑24; "The Treatment of Plant Diseases in 1896," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 32 (1897): 1‑22; "A Preliminary Arrangement of the Species of Genus Bacterium," 9th Ann. Rept. Del. Agr. Exp. Sta. (1897): 1‑93; "Soil Bacteria in Their Relation to Agriculture, Pt. 1," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 40 (1898): 1‑16; "Common Diseases of the Fowls, Their Control and Treatment," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 47 (1900): 1‑30; "The Chemical Functions of Certain Soil Bacteria," Proceedings, Twenty‑First Annual Meeting of Society for Promotion Agricultural Science (1900);
More Pubs: Ezra D. Sanderson and Chester, "Directions for Treatment of Insect Pests and Plant Diseases," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 50 (1901); "Pear Blight and Pear Cander," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 52 (1901): 1‑8; Manual of Determinative Bacteriology (New York: Macmillan, 1901); "Bacteria of the Soil in their Relation to Agriculture," Bull., Dept. of Agriculture, Commonwealth of Penn. no. 98. (1892): 1‑88; "Sundry Notes on Plant Diseases," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 57 (1902): 1‑16; "Observations on an Important Group of Soil Bacteria: Organisms Related to Bacillus Subtilis," 15th Annual Report of the Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Station, 1903 (1903): 1‑54; "Notes on Fungous Diseases in Del.," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 63 (1904): 17‑32; "The Bacteriological Analysis of Soils," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 65 (1904): 49‑76; "Soil Bacteria and Nitrogen Assimilation," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 66 (1904): 1‑24; Thomas R. Brown and Chester, "The Action of Formaldehyde in the Preservation of Milk," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 71 (1905): 1‑36; "The Effect of Desiccation on Root Tubercle Bacteria," Bull. Del. Coll. Agr. Exp. Sta. no. 78 (1907): 1‑15; "Principles of Classification of Bacteria: Rept. of the Phil. Meeting of Dec. 27‑8, 1904," Science n.s. 21 (1905): 485‑486; Manual of Determinative Bacteriology (New York: Macmillan, 1909, 1914);
SAB Involvement: Charter SAB member; SAB Council Member 1901, 1902, 1904, 1905; Member, SAB Comm. on Publication 1903 1904; Vice Pres. SAB 1903, 1907 (but not present at Chicago meeting); Member of the SAB Comm. on Methods for the Identification of Species 1904 1908; Retired from SAB 1908; dropped from SAB due to non payment of dues 1909;
Chester may have been trained as a geologist, and participated in state and federal geological surveys. In addition, he cataloged every insect and larva submitted for identification by the station. He looks as if he spent most of time in the early 1890's on plant pathology.
Chester was actively surveying the bacteria that he found in soil cultures, and on this based much of his classification. Chester's work at the Delaware Experiment Station involved practical aspects of soil bacteriology, such as determining the effect of lime on soil microorganisms responsible for nitrogen fixation. He was in fact the first American to study soil bacteria in 1898. In 1905, he argued that Moore's inoculant cultures failed due to the inability of many organisms to withstand drying on cotton.
More importantly, Chester was one of the first bacteriologists to emphasize the "zymotic" efficiency, or the ability to bring about the formation of certain specific products of decomposition, rather than mere numbers.
At the 1900 meeting of the SAB, Chester presented "A Bacteriological Study of Two Samples of Water," which was discussed by Welch. At the 1902 meeting, he presented on "Oligo nitrophilic Bacteria of the Soil," which he used to designate Clost. pasteurianum, and its symbionts of Granulabacter and Radiobacter. The paper was discussed by Sedgwick, Abbot, Welch, Russell and Conn. At the 1903 meeting, he submitted "Notes on the B. subtilis Group," which drew discussion from Welch and Bergey. At the 1904 meeting, he outlined his "Principles of Classification of Bacteria," which was discussed by Rosenau, Harding, Bergey, Winslow, Smith, Phelps and Rickards. At the 1905 meeting, Chester delivered the "Report of the Committee on Methods for the Identification of Bacterial Species," which did not appear in the printed abstracts.
His initial work on classification relied on Migula's genera, and then a card/decimal system patterned after Gage and Phelps. Chester was the driving force, at the Philadelphia meeting in Dec. 1903, behind the SAB's Committee on the Identification of Bacterial Species. At the Philadelphia meeting in Dec. of 1904, the committee issued a report which led to printing of a 5 x 8 card issued with an explanatory folder.