The Exchange of Matter and the Transformation of Energy
As Famintsyn’s apprentice, Vinogradskii’s perspectives on questions of fungal nutrition agreed in large part with the views Famintsyn expressed in The Exchange of Matter. Famintsyn’s 800 page monograph, which finally appeared in 1883, was a broad compendium of knowledge drawn from botany, physiology and chemistry. In concert with its sequel, a textbook entitled Plant Physiology (1887), it represented the founding of plant physiology as an independent discipline in Russia. Although a quick comparison leads one to conclude that Vinogradskii’s report mirrored the relevant sections of The Exchange of Matter, it was not, however, his investigation’s sole source of inspiration. Famintsyn’s moody, inquisitive apprentice had also engaged the ideas of the broader European community of physiologists, microbiologists, and chemists through an exploration of a wide variety of sources. The most pertinent of these were Pasteur’s publications on fermentation (which had made a deep impression on Vinogradskii) and Nägeli’s work. It is most probable that Famintsyn, through his lectures and laboratory courses, had led Vinogradskii to study seriously Pasteur’s and Nägeli’s researches. For this reason I present their work as Vinogradskii first encountered it, filtered through Famintsyn’s interpretation. The incongruities that remain, then, between Famintsyn’s portrayal of certain questions in The Exchange of Matter and Vinogradskii’s discussion of them in his presentation represent the latter’s own contributions to the research.