Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Fanny Hesse

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Name  Fanny Hesse

Fanny Hesse httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsaa

Angelina Fanny Hesse Mini-bio#5 - Sur les épaules de géant.e.s

Fanny Hesse (Born Angelina Fanny Elishemius, June 22, 1850 – December 1, 1934) is best known for her work in microbiology alongside her husband, Walther Hesse. Together they were instrumental in developing Agar as a medium for culturing microorganisms.


Fanny Hesse httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Fanny Hesse- Sabrina Miller


Hesse was born in 1850 in New York City to Gottfried Elishemius, a wealthy import merchant, and his wife, Ceclie Elise. She met her husband and research partner Walther Hesse in 1872 while in Germany. They were engaged in 1873, and married in 1874 in Geneva.

Research contributions

In 1881, while working for her husband as a technician in the laboratory of German physician and microbiologist Robert Koch, Hesse suggested that agar was preferable to gelatin for cultivating bacteria. This led to Koch using agar to cultivate the bacteria that cause tuberculosis.

Prior to her discovery, Hesse, working unpaid, would make drawings for her husband's publications. While Koch, in an 1882 paper on tuberculosis bacilli, mentioned he used agar instead of gelatin, he did not credit Fanny or Walther Hesse, or mention why he made the switch. Fanny Hesse's suggestion never resulted in financial benefit for the Hesse family.


Fanny Hesse Wikipedia