Throughout the 1920s the scientific community remained skeptical of Avery and Heidelberger's work on the unique antigenic polysaccharides in type II and type III pneumococcus. Echoing prevailing beliefs among scientists that only proteins could act as antigens, critics contended that Heidelberger and Avery's polysaccharide solutions had been contaminated by proteins, and that these, not the polysaccharides, were causing the antigenic reactions. As a result, the two approached Walther Goebel, an organic chemist, in order to more specifically determine the nature of these polysaccharides and their antigenic properties. This article details their findings as to the structure and composition of the polysaccharide capsule of type III pneumococcus.
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