Aldo Castellani

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Aldo Castellani (born September 8, 1874 in Florence , † October 3, 1971 in Lisbon ) was an Italian pathologist and bacteriologist . He is considered the "Nestor of Microbiology".

Aldo Castellani (1934)


Castellani was born in Florence and went to school there. He graduated as a doctor in 1899 and went for some time to the University of Bonn in the bacteriological laboratory of Walter Kruse (1864–1943), where in 1901 he carried out the absorption test (saturation test; agglutinin saturation according to Castellani) for the serological determination of closely related organisms developed. He then moved to the School of Tropical Medicine in London in 1901 . As a bacteriologist with the Royal Society's Sleeping Sickness Commission , he traveled to Entebbe , Uganda , in 1902 with George Carmichael Low and Cuthbert Christy . Castellani demonstrated the causes and transmission routes of sleeping sickness .

In 1903 he was appointed bacteriologist with the Ceylon government in the central laboratory in Colombo . Here he discovered the causative spirochete of the yaws called yaws , namely the Treponema pertenue , closely related to the recently discovered syphilis pathogen , and carried out further pioneering work in the field of bacteriology, mycology and parasitic skin diseases. Among other things , he described some new types of intestinal bacteria ( Bacillus ceylonensis A and Bacillus ceylonensis B 1907, Bacillus madampensis 1911).

In 1915 Castellani left Ceylon and took a chair in tropical medicine in Naples. During the First World War he was a member of the inter-allied medical commission in Serbia and Macedonia. In 1919 Castellani became an advisor to the British Department of Pensions. He became a lecturer in fungal research and fungal diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and had a practice on the prestigious Harley Street . In 1928 he was made Honorary Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George . In 1939 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .

He became a corresponding member of the Accademia dei Lincei in 1922 and became a socio nazionale (full member) in 1929. In the same year he was also appointed Senator of the Kingdom . In 1933 he became a member of the Accademia dei XL , of which he was president from 1937 to 1948.

In 1932 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina . Castellani's enthusiasm for royal and other important patients, such as Benito Mussolini , tarnished his reputation, and during World War II he aided Italy against the Allies by becoming chief of medical services for the Italian army.

From 1960 to 1964 he was President of the International Dermatological Society, which he founded in 1959. He was also a professor of tropical medicine at the University of Louisiana and also at the Royal University of Rome . He followed the Queen of Italy Marie José into exile in Portugal and became a professor at the Lisbon Institute for Tropical Medicine.

The Castellani solution is named after him , an antiseptic mixture that is clearly red in color due to the fuchsine it contains, which was used in Germany for the external application of infectious skin diseases such as ear canal infections until around 2005 . The solution may no longer be used in Germany because of the presumably toxic ingredients.

Fonts (selection)

  • Manual of tropical medicine . 1910 (with AJ Chalmers)
  • Fungi and fungous diseases . 1928
  • Climate and acclimatization . 2nd edition 1938
  • Manuale di clinica tropicale . (with Jacono)


Web links

Commons : Aldo Castellani  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Notes and individual references

  1. ^ So in the birth certificate from Florence (cf. disc.), 1877 is clearly wrong.
  2. Heinz PR Seeliger : 50 years of experience in microbiology and hygiene. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 9, 1991, pp. 207-216; here: p. 208.
  3. So Castellani: The agglutination in mixed infection and the diagnosis of the latter . In: Journal of Hygiene and Infectious Diseases . tape 40 , 1902, pp. 1 .
  4. Aldo Castellani: On the discovery of a species of Trypanosoma in the cerebrospinal fluid of cases of sleeping sickness . In: Proceedings of the Royal Society . tape LXXI , 1903, p. 501-508 .
  5. ^ Aldo Castellani: On the presence of Spirochaetes in two cases of ulcerated parangi [yaws] . In: British Medical Journal . tape II , 1905, p. 1280, 1330 p., 1430 .
  6. This Ministry of Pensions was founded in 1916 to regulate the pension rights of those involved in the war. It was later merged with the Ministry of National Insurance.
  7. a b London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  8. Because of his sympathy for the Axis powers in World War II , the title was withdrawn from him, but later returned by Queen Elizabeth II.
  9. He fell into the category of those who had paid at least 3,000 lire in direct taxes for three years.
  10. ^ International Society of Dermatology
  11. Entry on Castellani solution in Pharmawiki , accessed on January 28, 2017.
  12. Roswitha Schroer, Thomas Krech, Christian Peter Hommerich: Solutio Castellani: Investigations and remarks on a well-tried tincture. (PDF) In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt . Volume 87, H. 51/52, December 24, 1990, p. 4123 f. Retrieved February 14, 2014.