Dmitri Ivanovsky was a Russian microbiologist an born on November 9, 1864 in Gdov, Russia. Ivanovsky was the son of Iosif Antonovich Ivanovsky who was a landowner in Kherson guberniya. He joined the Gymnasium of Gdov and graduated a gold medalist in the year of 1883. When he attended the University of St. Petersburg, he joined in the department of natural science and studied under many famous Russian scientists. While he was a student, he became very interested in diseases that harmed and destroyed tobacco plants.
Ivanovsky is one of two key biologists recognized with discovering viruses. In the 1890s, he tried to find the source of the tobacco mosaic disease, an infection that made tobacco leaves to discolor. He prepared a solution out of affected leaves containing the infectious agent, and he passed it through a new filter, known as a Chamberland filter which was made of porcelain and had small pores that could filter out bacteria. Ivanovsky discovered that after going through the filter, the solution was still efficient at infecting tobacco plants which meant that the infecting agent was much smaller than a bacterium.
He announced his results in 1892 and continued on to other work. Ivanovsky’s work was overlooked by the scientists until eventually he abandoned his study of this pathogen without fully understanding the effects of his research. Six years later in 1898 Dutch biologist, Martinus Beijerinck, performed the exact experiments and announced that he found a new kind of infecting organism and called it a virus. Neither Beijerinck nor Ivanovsky understood that the virus was a particulate, Ivanovsky assumed it was a toxin produced by bacteria.
Not until beginning of electron microscopy that started in the 1950s would it be learned that the tobacco mosaic virus was actually a tiny hollow rod, formed by a single spiraling strand of RNA which is surrounded by a protein casing. Almost all the fundamental beliefs of Ivanovsky’s breakthrough have been proven and established in modern virology. The only exclusion is his proposition that the source of the tobacco mosaic disease was a small bacterium, but Ivanovsky himself had not been fully swayed of its legitimacy.
During his lifetime, a lot progress was made by filtering an infectious agent through a Chamberland Filter and many other diseases were learned. The parasitic nature of viruses has been established during the seventy-year development in virology. Ivanovsky’s theory that viruses where parasitic microorganisms is approved by many scientists that where influenced by the idea that viruses include the properties of pathogenic microorganisms such as specialized parasitism, cyclical infectional process, and immunization formation.
- “Dmitri Iosifovich Ivanovsky Biography.” Book Rags, Book Rags, www.bookrags.com/biography/dmitri-iosifovich-ivanovsky-wmi/#gsc.tab=0.
- “Dmitri Ivanovsky – Scientist of the Day.” Linda Hall Library, 19 Dec. 2018, www.lindahall.org/dmitri-ivanovsky/.
- Encyclopedia.com, Encyclopedia.com, 2019, www.encyclopedia.com/people/medicine/medicine-biographies/dmitri-iosifovich-ivanovsky.