Discovery of Tobacco Mosaic Virus 

Themes: Life Science & Health


Professor Beijerinck is credited with demonstrating that viruses exist and are biological because of his research on the Tobacco Mosaic Disease. Virology, as a discipline, is of obvious importance.


His experiments demonstrated that the infectious agent could replicate in living plant cells and was thus not a chemical. He also proved that it was much smaller than known bacteria. He called it “contagium vivum fluidum”.


Beijerinck was appointed Professor of Microbiology at the Delft Polytechnic in 1895. In 1898 he published his results on the virus, building on the work of Adolf Mayer and Dmitri Ivanowski.

Prof. Martinus Beijerinck †


Dr. Lesley A. Robertson FRSB