Otto Fritz Meyerhof
Otto Fritz Meyerhof, born 1884, showed that there was a fixed relationship between the consumption of oxygen and the metabolism of lactic acid in the muscle, garnering him a Nobel Prize in 1922.
Otto Fritz Meyerhof was born on April 12, 1884, in Hannover. He was the son of Felix Meyerhof, a merchant of that city and his wife Bettina May. Soon after his birth his family moved to Berlin, where he went to the Wilhelms Gymnasium (classical secondary school). Leaving school at the age of 14, he was attacked, at the age of 16, by kidney trouble and had to spend a long time in bed. During this period of enforced inactivity he was much influenced by his mother’s constant companionship. He read much, wrote poetry, and went through a period of much artistic and mental development. After he had matriculated, he studied medicine at Freiburg, Berlin, Strasbourg, and Heidelberg.
Of Meyerhof’s many achievements, perhaps the most important is his proof that, in isolated but otherwise intact frog muscle, the lactic acid formed is reconverted to carbohydrate in the presence of oxygen, and his preparation of a KC1 extract of muscle which could carry out all the steps of glycolysis with added glycogen and hexose-diphosphate in the presence of hexokinase derived from yeast. In this system glucose was also glycolysed and this was the foundation of the Embden-Meyerhof theory of glycolysis. For his discovery of the fixed relationship between the consumption of oxygen and the metabolism of lactic acid in the muscle, Meyerhof was awarded, together with the English physiologist A.V. Hill, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for 1922.
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Excerpted with permission, www.nobelprize.org