Great Britain

Stamen Grigorov: Who was the microbiologist and what did he discover?

Google is celebrating the life’s work of microbiologist and physician Dr Stamen Grigorov with a Doodle on what would have been his 142nd birthday.

Born on 27 October 1878 in the village of Studen Izvor in western Bulgaria, Grigorov is best known for discovering Lactobacillus bulgaricus,  the bacterium essential to the fermentation of milk into yoghurt.

After displaying an interest in science from a young age, Grigorov eventually earned a doctorate from the Medical University of Geneva, Switzerland, before returning to the school to work as a research assistant.

His eventual discovery in 1905 of the certain strain of bacillus that causes natural yoghurt was the result of a wedding present from his wife, who gifted Grigorov Bulgarian culinary staples in 1904.

According to the Google Doodle, Grigorov was intrigued by yoghurt’s health benefits, so decided to inspect the food under a microscope.

A year later, the biologist discovered the microorganism, which was eventually named in honour of his home country.

While Grigorov is best known for his yoghurt discovery, he also made other notable advancements during his life, including through research in which he demonstrated the first use of penicillin fungi against tuberculosis, contributing to the creation of the first vaccine.

In honour of Grigorov’s yoghurt discovery, his hometown is home to one of the world’s only yoghurt museums.

The town also held a yoghurt festival on the 110th anniversary of the discovery, which saw locals displaying homemade yoghurt and cheese.

After returning to Bulgaria to continue his work as a doctor, Grigorov died on his birthday in 1945 at the age of 67.

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