Christiaan Eijkman

A physician, pathologist, and bacteria expert from the Netherlands. He is the inventor of the cause of beriberi disease.  Further research on the cause of the disease directed him to the discovery and use of vitamins. In 1929, together with Sir Frederick Hopkins, he received Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine Science. Eijkman graduated from the Medical School of the University of Amsterdam in 1883, then assigned to Indonesia, which, at that time was still under Dutch colony. After working for some time as a doctor, he was sent to Berlin to conduct a Bacteriology research under the guidance of Robert Koch.

 

In 1886, he returned to the island of Java. As the Director of Anatomical Pathology and Bacteriology Laboratory in Batavia at the time, he carried out a lot of researches on  beriberi disease that was endemic at that time. In 1890, Eijkman discovered that his experimental chicken was attacked by polyneuritis disease. He found that polyneuritis symptoms also occurred on patients with beriberi. In 1898, he succeeded in proving that the cause of his chickens’ are attacked by the disease was food that is given; it was   husked milled rice which was so clean that the epidermis was wasted with bran and bran. Eijkman later learned that milled rice has low nutrition because its vitamins, especially B1, went wasted in the grinding process. To honor him, the Molecular Biological Research Center (formerly the Eijkman Institute) located in Ciptomangunkusumo hospital complex  , Jl. Diponegoro, Jakarta was named after him.