Musée Accueil

Spontaneous generation does not exist

From 1857, Pasteur had opposed the notion defended by many scientists who espoused spontaneous generation with the belief that fermenting or putrefying matter could “spontaneously” produce new living beings.

Pasteur was himself convinced that no microorganism could be present in a culture medium, such as his flasks, without having been transferred there by parent nuclei like itself. Microbes were everywhere, particularly in the air.

In 1862, the French Academy of Sciences offered a prize to anyone who could solve this centuries-old problem.

That was all the reason Pasteur needed for defending his theory of the origins of life. In fact, since carrying out his studies on fermentation, he was convinced that nothing could be spontaneously produced, not even microscopic creatures which are living things.

For four years, he multiplied his experiments using flasks filled with nutrient broth.

His work nullified the doctrine of spontaneous generation. By founding the actual principle of microbiology, Pasteur paved the way for the practice of asepsis for avoiding bacterial contamination, whether in the area of medicine, surgery or food-processing...

Come and discover more about the laboratory and open-air experiments, the still sterilised flasks and the famous swan-necked flask invented by Pasteur to prove that microbes are not produced spontaneously but through contamination...