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[Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner−the discoverer of morphine].

[Article in German]

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Abteilung für Anästhesiologie, Universitäts-Krankenhaus Eppendorf, Hamburg.


Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner (1783-1841) was one of the most outstanding pharmacists who significantly influenced the transformation of pharmaceutical chemistry from a state of alchemistry to an acknowledged branch of science at the end of the 18th century. At the age of twenty-one, Sertürner was the first to report on some results concerning the substance which was thought to be responsible as the "sleeping-agent". This substance had been isolated by him from the poppy-plant. Since this first report remained unnoticed, he repeated his analysis and described once more on the "crystallizable" properties of the agent in 1817, which he now named morphine. To have an idea of the effects of the drug, Sertürner was able to confirm the hypnotic as well as the analgesic properties of morphine that were well-known to him since the had performed animal tests. Since he could demonstrate the alkaline qualities of morphine, something absolutely new at that time, Sertürner became the co-founder and promoter of a new type of chemistry now known as alkaloid chemistry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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