Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tribute to Stamen Grigorov

It isn't every day that you see a tribute to Stamen Grigorov, and if you ask who? that only proves my point.

Dr. Stamen Grigorov was the Bulgarian scientist who in 1905 first isolated and identified Lactobacillus bulgaricus, the bacteria that is primarily responsible for yogurt. He did so, ironically, in sterile Switzerland.

Stamen Grigorov, in the middle, as a student in Geneva, Switzerland

Who's doing the tribute? It's taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria, naturally where the Fourth Annual European Researcher's Night takes place today.

Clips from films on how Bulgarian science fits into the European sphere; on God’s particle, black holes and the mysteries of CERN; on forbidden discoveries and more will be shown.

For those looking for something a bit more interactive, there will be a live performance called the Voyage of Sound, and another one called Science in Fairytales, organised with the support of the British Council, that will examine what connects the Wizard of Oz, the Little Mermaid, Andersen’s Snow Queen, Alice, Gulliver, Zlatka the Golden Girl and fairytale princesses. (Hint – the show includes the participation of a chemist, two meteorologists, a doctor of molecular medicine, a physicist and a general practitioners.)

For the visual arts-inclined, there is an exhibition on turning rubbish into a fun science game and another one on Bulgarian scientific research, a project of the National Polytechnical Museum, which presents curious facts about famous Bulgarian scientists and researchers (think Stamen Grigovor [sic], discoverer – in 1905 – of Lactobacillus bulgaricus, the bacteria that breaks down the lactose in milk and makes yoghurt what it is).

Yes, it would be nicer if they hadn't typoed his name.

A Stamen Grigorov Foundation exists today, with lofty-sounding ambitions:
For ten years now the main activities of the Foundation have been related to the microbiology and art by means of organization and realization of courses, consultations, plenaries, symposiums, conferences; organization and realization of specific scientific forums, exhibitions, musical and literature days, etc.

but some dubiously extravagant claims about Bulgarian yogurt:
His further research carried out in many institutes worldwide proved that Bulgarian yogurt helps in the treatment of various diseases and conditions like infections, otic-rhino-laryngeal diseases, tuberculosis, stomach and intestine conditions, ulcers, some gynecologic diseases, fatigue, etc. These prophylactic and curative properties of Bulgarian yogurt are due to the rich vitamin content including B1, B2, C, A, D, E, PP, B12, as well as lactose, proteins, and other important stimulating substances.

Yogurt in its original variety can be produced only in Bulgaria and in some neighboring regions on the Balkan peninsula. In other natural climatic conditions the bacteria quickly degenerate, lose their qualities and die.

I have my doubts, but it is true that American-style yogurt, pioneered by Isaac Carasso of Dannon in 1947 is a far cry from the original, tart, and fruit-free yogurt known to Europeans.

Dr. Grigorov is a reminder that science is truly an international endeavor. Discoveries and discoverers can emerge from any point. All that matters is the result.

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