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The Production of Indigo in the Human Organism

  • R. V. Stanford (a1)

It has long been known that in certain circumstances the dye-stuff indigo, or substances very nearly related to it, may appear as products of animal metabolism, and this fact has not failed to attract attention from physiologists, chemists and medical men. Indigo, in fact, possesses a “fatal gift of beauty,” which has always made it a focus of interest. Of no substance is the history easier to trace. In the earliest times it was obtained from the plant Isatis tinctoria, and served as dye and pigment under the name of woad, being no doubt a striking feature at meetings of the wild Silures in this locality some 2,000 years ago. More recently, during the past half century, the problem of the production of synthetic indigo has absorbed enormous sums of money and the energies of an army of chemists, and the successful competition which it now wages with the vegetable product forms one of the best instances of the return eventually obtained by those who cast their bread upon the waters, financing research in the hope of a return which they cannot definitely foresee.

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As a very complete bibliography of the extensive literature of urinary ndigo and “indican” is given in some of the following publications, such as those of Ellinger, and especially Wang, only a few of the most important papers are referred to here.
1 Jaffe, . —Pfl. Arch., iii, 1870, p. 448.
2 Obermayer, . —Zeitschr. physiol. Chem., xxvi, 1898, p. 427.
3 Wang, . —Zeitschr. physiol. Chem., xxv, 1898, p. 406.
4 Wang, . —Om Indicanuri. Christiania: Jacob Dybwad, 1900, pp. 156 + xvi.
5 Ellinger, . —Zeitschr. physiol. Chem., xxxviii, 1903, p. 178.
6 Maillard, . —L'indoxyle urinaire et les couleurs qui en dérivent. Paris, Schleicher, 1903, pp. xi + 114.
7 Bloxam, . —Journ. Soc. Chem. Industry, xxv, 1906, p. 735; Report of Government of India on Research Work in Indigo, 1908, passim.
8 Salkowski, . — Virchow's Arch. f. Path. Anat., lxviii, 1876, p. 407.
9 Krauss, . —Zeitschr. physiol. Chem., xviii, 1894, p. 173.
10 Adrian, . —Zeitschr. physiol. Chem., xix, 1894, p. 129.
11 Bouma, . —Zeitschr. physiol. Chem., xxxii, 1901, p. 82.
12 Coriat, . —Amer. Journ. of Insanity, lviii, 1902, p. 635;
see also Myers, , Fisher, and Diefendorf, , Zeitschr. physiol. Chem., lxv, 1909, p. 606.
13 Bruce, . —Journal of Mental Science, lii, 1906, p. 501.
14 Pini, and Benini, . —Riforma Medica, 1906, No. 5 (cited by Zanon in brochure, Sopra mille osservazioni urologiche in alienati ecc. [from Manicomio di Udine]).
15 Pardo, . —Riv. sperim. di freniatria, xxxiii, 1907, p. 275.
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  • ISSN: 0368-315X
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
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The Production of Indigo in the Human Organism

  • R. V. Stanford (a1)
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