Buchner, Eduard (1860-1917), a German chemist, made important contributions to the understanding of fermentation. For his work, he was awarded the 1907 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Buchner attended the Technische Hochschule in Munich, but financial problems forced him to leave school. He worked in canning factories for four years and resumed his academic training in 1884. He studied chemistry at the Bavarian Academy of Science and botany at the Botanic Institute for Plant Physiology.
After receiving his Ph.D. degree in 1888 from the University of Munich, Buchner taught at the university and also established a small private laboratory for his research. In 1893, he was named head of the Section for Analytical Chemistry at the University of Kiel, and in 1896, he joined the faculty at the University of Tübingen. He moved to Berlin in 1898 to accept the simultaneous positions of full professor of general chemistry at the College of Agriculture and director of the Institute for the Fermentation Industry.
In his research, Buchner discovered cell-free fermentation. At the time, scientists were uncertain whether fermentation was caused by a chemical reaction or whether a vital substance was responsible for the process. Through his investigations, Buchner proved that fermentation does not require intact yeast cells, but is caused by an enzyme called zymase. He also showed that fermentation could occur in the presence of oxygen, a finding that disproved a theory held by Louis Pasteur. For his work, Buchner was awarded the 1907 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
From 1907 to 1909, Buchner taught at the University of Breslau. In 1911, he accepted an appointment at the University of Würzburg. When World War I (1914-1918) broke out, he volunteered for military duty. He died of shrapnel wounds received in battle.
Buchner married Lotte Stahl in 1900. The couple had three children.