de Schweinitz, Emile A.


Dates:           b. 1864; 1890 to BAI; d. 1904

Locations:    Assist. Prof. Natural History, Univ. North Carolina (1883 1885); Instr. in Chemistry, Tufts College (1886); Instr. Chemistry, University of Kentucky (1887); Chemist, (1890 ); Chief, Biochem. Division, Bureau of Animal Industry, USDA (1891 ); also Prof. of Chemistry and Toxicology, and Dean, Medical School, Columbian University (late 1890's 1900's)

Training:      Univ. Virginia; PhD Univ. North Carolina 1885; at Berlin, PhD Univ. Gottingen 1886; MD Columbian College (GWU) 1892;

Fields:          veterinary; biologics; BACT NOM

Publications: "A Preliminary Study of the Ptomaines from the Culture Liquids of the Hog Cholera Germ," Med. News 57 (1890): 237‑239; "The Serum Treatment for Swine Plague and Hog Cholera," Report of the Bureau of Animal Industry for 1898, pp. 235‑368; "The Enzymes or Soluble Ferments of the Hog‑Cholera Germ," Med. News 91 (1892); 376‑377; "The Production of Immunity to Hog Cholera by Means of the Blood Serum of Immune Animals," Centrbl. f. Backt. 20 (1896): 573‑577; de Schweinitz and Dorset, "A Form of Hog Cholera Not Caused by the Hog Cholera Bacillus," BAI Circular no. 41 (1903); de Schweinitz and Dorset, "New Facts Concerning the Etiology of Hog Cholera," Rept. for the Bur. Animal Industry, 1903, pp. 235‑268;

SAB Involvement:  Charter SAB member (present at 1899, 1900); ; SAB council member 1900; Pres. Am. Chemical Society; member APHA, AMA; Vice‑President of Tuberculosis Congress, Berlin 1899, International Medical Congress 1900; International Congress of Hygiene, Paris 1900

Archive Files: "Emil Alexander de Schweinitz," Rept. Bureau of Animal Industry, 1904, p. 39; E.V. Wilcox, "Obituary, E.A. de Schweinitz," American Veterinary Review 28 (Nov. 1904): 779; Stalheim, Winning of Animal Health(Ames:  Iowa State University Press, 1944), 69‑71;


     De Schweinitz studied the biology and chemistry of bacteria.  He was one of the first to cultivate and report on the attenuated tubercle bacillus, thereby suggesting a possible immunization of animals.  He was primarily a chemist, and was working on field trials of a vaccine in 1904 when he died.

     He is best remembered for his work on developing a serum against hog cholera.  De Schweinitz began studying hog cholera in 1890, and by 1897 he prepared a serum for experimental immunizations.  His first serum was based on the bacterial origin, and he found modest protection.  He was disturbed, however, by the fact that recovered hogs had an absolute immunity.

     At the 1901 meeting of the SAB, de Schweinitz and Dorset submitted, but did not present, a paper on "Some Considerations in Regard to the Relations between Hog Cholera, Colon and Typhoid Bacilli."  BACT‑NOM

    De Schweinitz followed the model of diphtheria antitoxin and tuberculosis vaccines, isolating albuminoids and amines from cultures, injecting them into a series of experimental animals, and then exposing the same to the bacillus to test their immunity.  "Cultures of the bacillus, dead cultures, fractions of killed bacteria, and cell contents were given subcutaneous, intramuscular, and intravenous injections."  After years, he produced in horse an antiserum that protected swine against the bacillus. (69) 

     At the 1902 meeting of the SAB, de Schweinitz and Dorset reported on "A Preliminary Chemical Study of Various Tubercle Bacilli," pointing out that a chemical analysis indicates "a closer resemblance in the composition of the germs between the moderately virulent human bacilli and the bovine and swine, than between the moderately virulent human and the very attenuated human bacilli."  Moreover, they emphasized the importance of a chemical study, not only of the tubercle bacilli themselves, but also of their products.  The paper was discussed by Abbot, Welch, and Bergey.

     In 1903, Dorset and de Schweinitz reported that blood which had been passed through a Berkefeld and Chamberland filter could transmit the disease.  They were led to this conclusion initially by experimental transmissions that did not produce either the hog cholera bacillus or the swine plague bacillus.