and meat undergoing putrefaction, also in the white of eggs, the non-poisonous neuridine from which is formed the poisonous neurine. The bacilli decompose the neuridine and form neurine from it. Spread on fish they generate muscarine, the virulent poison also found in certain toad-stools. These bacilli hence produce a peculiar ptomaine, according to the soil in which they happen to be growing. We have as an instance the poison of the pellagra and of cholera, which, when formed in the human system, will exercise a most deadly effect upon it.
In every-day life, too, the ptomaines very often give proof of their presence. Heretofore, however, such cases have not always been well understood. The frequent inflammations of the fingers of persons engaged in washing dishes, etc., are due to this cause. The poisons of putrefaction, so easily formed, need only enter into a scratch or abrasion of the skin, and they will cause a slight poisoning. This is commonly termed having a "sore finger," and is rather unpleasant, but is generally soon cured. The best remedy for the evil is washing with soap, which acts like a mild disinfectant.
The investigation of these poisons of putrefaction is, however, by no means brought to an end by the results reached thus far. Much remains to be done in order to solve the new questions constantly arising. So far as practical life is concerned, it is evident that all food, be it of vegetable or of animal origin, must be regarded with suspicion as soon as the first signs of decomposition become noticeable. Especially should great care be taken in times of epidemics. Hygiene alone, in kitchen and cellar, is competent to guard against the evil!—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from Daheim.
|EELS AND THEIR YOUNG.|
EELS are among the mysteries of this world. In spite of the way in which Dame Science has persistently poked her nose into most things, and has harried them and laid them bare, she has succeeded in finding out but little about eels and their mode of life. However, it would be rash to go as far in our confession of ignorance as a contemporary recently did, and declare that "we know next to nothing of eels beyond the periods of their migration." If we knew nothing more than that, we should indeed know but little, as in many places eels never migrate at all, but grow fat and flourish from year to year in the pond or lake where they were born, without ever leaving it to seek the brackish water of estuaries which some authorities deem necessary to their existence. The same writer who made the above remark asserts that the distinction between "shovel-nosed" and "pointed-nosed" eels is purely "fanciful," and accounts for the differ-