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Who Is Stamen Grigorov? Google Doodle Celebrates The Scientist Who Discovered The Cause Of Natural Yogurt

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Today’s Google Doodle pays tribute to Dr. Stamen Grigorov, a Bulgarian physician and microbiologist, on his 142nd birthday.

Grigorov was the first scientist to discover Lactobacillus bulgaricus, the bacterium that is essential for the fermentation of milk into yogurt.

He also played a central role in the development of the first ever tuberculosis vaccine.

The search engine giant has chosen to highlight Grigorov’s work with a Google Doodle—a special temporary alteration to its homepage logo that commemorates holidays, events, achievements and historical figures.

Portrait of Dr. Stamen Grigorov before 1918
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After thousands of experiments, he finally found what he was looking for, in 1905.

He discovered the rod-shaped microorganism that causes yogurt’s fermentation and the bacterium was later renamed Lactobacillus bulgaricus in honor of his home country.

But Yogurt also has a long history in the country with man Bulgarians claiming the diary product was accidentally discovered by nomadic tribes around 4,000 years ago, according to the BBC.

These nomads apparently carried their milk in animal skins as they travelled, which created a ripe environment for bacteria to grow and cause fermentation.

Elitsa Stoilova, assistant professor of ethnology at the University of Plovdiv, told the broadcaster: “It’s true that yogurt was part of people’s diet for centuries in the Balkan lands. It’s a natural process that people discovered somehow…

“Indeed, the Balkans is one of the many places in the world which has the specific bacteria and temperature ranges needed to naturally produce yogurt.”

But Grigorov’s discovery of Lactobacillus bulgaricus played a vital role in bringing yogurt to the West and making it the widely consumed product that it is today.

His contribution to the first tuberculosis vaccine

After his discovery in Geneva, Grigorov took a position as chief physician at a local hospital back in his hometown of Trun in the same year, Google’s blog continues.

But his groundbreaking discoveries did not stop there. In 1906, he released a paper that demonstrated how penicillin fungi could be used to treat tuberculosis.

A feature on Bulgarian Radio BNR reported that Grigorov was not credited with the development first tuberculosis vaccine, typically attributed to French scientists Camille Guerin and Albert Calmette, due to “an odd confluence of events.”

The report said that Grigorov did not receive his credit for the vaccine because Bulgaria did not have a medical institution with enough power to support his findings.

Dr. Stamen Grigorov’s legacy

Grigorov spent the rest of his life continuing this research and working as a doctor, saving thousands of lives until his death in 1945.

In honor of his legacy, his home village, Studen Izvor opened The Museum of Yogurt in 2007, which includes documents and information regarding Grigorov’s life.

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

Meanwhile, a glacier in Antarctica has even been named after the Bulgarian doctor.

According to the Australian government website, the Grigorov Glacier was named in 2010 and is 1.8 km long and 1.3 km wide on the South coast of Albena Peninsula on Brabant Island in the Palmer Archipelago.

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