Julius Oscar Brefeld (1839 - 1925)
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1863 passes the state exam in pharmacy, goes to Halle University to be assistant to de Bary
1868 earns PhD
bed-ridden with pneumonia, semi-invalid for a few years
1873 lecturer at Berlin University
1876 appointed docent at the Forestry Academy at Eberswalde
1882 professor of botany and director of the botanical gardens in Münster
1896 marries, begins to become blind from glaucoma
1898 professor of botany at the University of Breslau
1900 blind in one eye
1902 wife dies; resigns professorship at Münster
1907 resigns his professorship at Breslau
1910 completely blind; continues publishing through dictation
Usually just known as Oscar, Brefeld owes his place in mycology to the long series of publications listed below. He did a lot of work elucidating the exotic heteroecious lifestyles of rusts and smuts; I hope to have some of his excellent pictures in here eventually. A wonderful observer, "his writings are still a mine of details on spore germination, and the growth and development of fungi." (Dictionary of Fungi) He was the foremost cultivator (in the petri dish sense) of fungi of his time, and he seems to have invented some culture techniques (using agar instead of gelatin, for example) that Koch later got credit for.
Brefeld's ideas were less good than his observations and techniques. He disagreed with de Bary on the fungal nature of yeasts, and disbelieved in fungal sexuality. He seems to have been rather obnoxious and overbearing - - almost all the American students who studied with him in Europe ended up leaving his lab because of his personality. Rostafinski, another student of de Bary's, is said to have named the singularly unattractive slime mold Brefeldia after him not as a homage, but as a nom d'abuse, to commemorate Brefeld's personality.
His cultivation techniques were ground-breaking in their time, but he insisted on his students following them long after better techniques became available. He doesn't seem to have ever published in a journal or with a co-author (until his increasing blindness forced him into the use of an amanuensis). I'm glad to have the wonderful illustrations to his articles (and I hope to include some of them here), but I'm just as glad not to have met him.
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Duane Isley (1994) One Hundred and One Botanists
D. L. Hawksworth, D. N. Pegler, P. M. Kirk & B. C. Sutton (1995) Dictionary of the Fungy
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Selected PublicationsJulius Oscar Brefeld (1872 - 1881) Researches on the Fungi: Hefte 1-4: Botanische Untersuchungen über Schimmelpilze (Botanical investigations on Mushrooms)
Julius Oscar Brefeld (1874) Botanische Untersuchungen über Schimmelpilze: Die Entwicklungsgeschichte von Penicillium (Botanical researches on molds The developmental history of Penicillium) 98 pp.
Julius Oscar Brefeld (1877) Botanische Untersuchungen über Schimmelpilze: Basidiomyceten I (Botanical researches on molds Basidiomycetes) 266 pp.
Julius Oscar Brefeld (1881) Botanische Untersuchungen über Hefenpilze: Die Brandpilze I (Botanical researches on yeasts The Rusts I) 191 pp.
Julius Oscar Brefeld (1883) Researches on the Fungi: heft 5: Botanische Untersuchungen über Hefenpilze Fortsetzung der Schimmelpilze (Botanical investigations on the yeast stage of mushrooms)
Julius Oscar Brefeld (1884 - 1912) Researches on the Fungi: Hefte 6-15: Untersuchungen aus dem Gesammtgebiete der Mykologie (Investigations Towards a Unified Command of Mycology) 15 vol.
The Title says a lot about his attitude towards his work. "Gebiete" really does mean command, control, or rule. No wonder so many people got annoyed with him.
Julius Oscar Brefeld (1888) Untersuchungen aus dem Gesammtgebiete der Mykologie: Basidiomyceten II. Protobasidiomyceten (Researches towards the complete command of mycology Basidiomycetes II. Protobasidiomycetes) 178 pp.
Julius Oscar Brefeld (1889) Untersuchungen aus dem Gesammtgebiete der Mykologie: Basidiomyceten III. Autobasidiomyceten und die Begründung des natürlichen Systemes der Pilze (Researches towards the complete command of mycology Basidiomycetes III. Autobasidiomycetes and the foundation of a natural taxonomic system for the fleshy fungi) 305 pp.
Julius Oscar Brefeld (1895) Untersuchungen aus dem Gesammtgebiete der Mykologie: Hemibasidii. Brandpilze III (Researches towards the complete command of mycology Hemibasidiae. The Rusts III) pp. 99 - 236
Julius Oscar Brefeld (1895) Untersuchungen aus dem Gesammtgebiete der Mykologie: Die Brandpilze II (Researches towards the complete command of mycology The Rusts II) 98 pp.
Julius Oscar Brefeld (1905) Untersuchungen aus dem Gesammtgebiete der Mykologie: Brandpilze (Hemibasidii) IV (Researches towards the complete command of mycology The Rusts (Hemibasidiae) IV) 75 pp.
Julius Oscar Brefeld (1912) Untersuchungen aus dem Gesammtgebiete der Mykologie: Die Brandpilze V (Researches towards the complete command of mycology The Rusts II) 151 pp.
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SpeciesDictyostelium mucoroides Brefeld
Heterobasidion annosum (Fries) Brefeld
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Pyxidiophora Brefeld & von Tavel
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