Gottlieb Kirchhoff

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Gottlieb Sigismund Kirchhoff
Born (1764-02-19)19 February 1764
Teterow, Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Died 14 February 1833(1833-02-14) (aged 68)
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Residence Russia
Fields Chemistry
Known for

Hydrolysis of starch into a sugar.

Refining vegetable oil.

Gottlieb Sigismund Constantin Kirchhoff (19 February 1764 – 14 February 1833) was a Russian chemist. In 1812 he became the first person to convert starch into a sugar (corn syrup), by heating it with sulfuric acid.[1] This sugar was eventually named glucose.[2] He also developed a method of refining vegetable oil, and established a factory that prepared two tons of refined oil a day.[2]

Since the sulfuric acid was not consumed, it was an early example of a catalyst. (A term that Jöns Jacob Berzelius would later coin.)


  1. ^ Kirchhoff (1811) Mémoires de l'Académie impériale des sciences de St. Pétersbourg, 4 : 27. From page 27: "Mr. l'Adjoint Kirchhoff présenta à la Conférence trois flacons, contenans: 1°) du Sirop produit par l'art dans quelques végétaux (la pomme de terre, le froment et le blé noir ou Sarazin), … " (Assistant [professor] Kirchhoff presented to the conference three bottles, containing: (1) syrup produced artificially from some vegetables (potato, wheat and buckwheat or Sarazin), … )
  2. ^ a b Asimov, Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology 2nd Revised edition