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Metchnikoff on Longevity, Gut Flora and Yogurt

A selection of Metchnikoff's philosophical writings, scientific papers, lectures and popular articles available for a free download on the Internet


The Nature of Man: Studies in Optimistic Philosophy. Translated from the French by P. Chalmers Mitchell. New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1903. Metchnikoff's first philosophical book, in which he called for the scientific study of aging, coining the term "gerontology."

TheProlongation of Life: Optimistic Studies. Translated from the French by P. Chalmers Mitchell. London: William Heinemann, 1907. In this book, Metchnikoff answers critics and provides a veiled autobiographical passage about a pessimist young scientist who converts to optimism in his older age.

Selected Scientific Papers
1897: "Revue de quelques travaux sur dégénérance senile.Année Biologique, 3, pp. 249-67. This review of existing literature was Metchnikoff's first paper on aging.

1901:  "On the Process of Hair Turning White." Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B., 69, p. 156. An English-language abstract of Metchnikoff's first scientific paper on aging.

1903:  "Les microbes intestinaux." Bulletin de l'Institut Pasteur, 1 (6), pp. 217-28 and pp. 265-82. Metchnikoff's overview of contemporary knowledge on intestinal microbes.

1908:  "Sur les microbes de la putréfiction intestinale." Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences, 147, pp. 579-81. In this report, Metchnikoff discusses contemporary controversies over "intestinal putrefaction" and describes his own experiments on this topic.

1910:  "Etudes sur la flore intestinale. 2e mémoire: Poisons intestinaux et scléroses." Annales de l'Institut Pasteur, v. 24, No. 10, pp. 755-70. Metchnikoff's study of the link between gut flora and arteriosclerosis.

1914:  "Etudes sur la flore intestinale. 4e mémoire: Les diarrhées des nourissons." Annales de l'Institut Pasteur, v. 28, No. 2, pp. 89-120. In this study, Metchnikoff proved that microbes could cause diarrhea in babies and called for hygienic measures to prevent infection. 

Selected Lectures, Brochures, Popular Articles
1901:  "Sur la flore du corps humain." Memoirs and Proceedings of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, 45, No. 5, pp. 1-38. The Wilde Lecture, in which Metchnikoff for the first time publicly presented his theory of aging.

1904:  "La vieillesse." Revue scientifique, Part I, pp. 65-70 and Part II, pp. 100-105. With this public lecture on old age in Paris, Metchnikoff inadvertently started a global craze for yogurt.

1907:  "Scientifically Soured Milk: Its influence in arresting intestinal putrefaction and its action in the treatment of diseases caused by auto-intoxication." New York: The Lacto-bacilline Company of New York, 15 p. An English translation of Metchnikoff's brochure on soured milk, Quelques Remarques sur le Lait Aigri.

1910:  "The Sting of Death." The World's Work, May, pp. 592-97. A popular article, translated into English, in which Metchnikoff describes his views on aging, longevity and death.