In this article, Heidelberger detailed his findings of what happened when he conducted a precipitin reaction between the polysaccharides of type III pneumococcus and its homologous antibody (an antibody formed against a specific antigen, here type III pneumococcal polysaccharide). Heidelberger demonstrated that when an antigen in solution is exposed to its homologous antibodies, a solid precipitant is formed which can be analyzed by chemical methods to identify its components. Heidelberger developed this so-called precipitin reaction into a powerful experimental method in immunochemistry. It was part of his effort to persuade critics that the polysaccharides, not rogue protein contaminants, were responsible for the antigenic effect he had previously observed.
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