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Elmer Verner McCollum

Elmer Verner McCollum
BornMarch 3 1879(1879-03-03)
Fort Scott, Kansas, U.S.
InstitutionsUniversity of Kansas
Yale University
Known forDiscovering Vitamins A and D
Discovering the influence of diet on health
Devising the vitamin naming system

Elmer Verner McCollum (1879 – 1967) was an American biochemist known for his work on the influence of diet on health. He was educated at the University of Kansas and at Yale. McCollum got his Ph.D. from Yale in 2 years, but stayed at Yale for another year working with T. Osborne and L. B. Mendel on problems of plant protein composition and diet. This deeply influenced Mccollum's future career. Mendel helped McCollum secure a faculty position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He pioneered in the study of vitamins and minerals by experimenting with the diets of small animals. McCollum discovered or helped discover a number of vitamins and originated the letter system of naming vitamins. He discovered Vitamin A and D and showed that Vitamin D prevents rickets, a bone disease.

McCollum first proposed that the nutritive failure of certain diets was due to a lack of "palatability." He proposed that if a diet could be made to taste good more flavor, and the animals ate larger quantities of food, the diets would be adequate. This hypothesis, and the supporting data, were criticized by both Osborne and Mendel, who demonstrated that plant protein diets were not adequate unless protein-free milk was added as a supplement. In some of their papers, Mendel and Osborne suggested that McCollum had been careless in some of his experiments. McCollum acknowledged this error and rededicated himself to more careful analyses including an analysis of the growth-promoting factors in protein-free milk, which then led to the isolation of the first known fat-soluble vitamin which he later called Vitamin A.

McCollum's book The Newer Knowledge of Nutrition (1918) influenced many dietitians.

See also


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Elmer_Verner_McCollum". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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