The separation of the zymase system from yeast cells by Eduard Buchner in 18971, by showing that such a ‘vital’ process as fermentation could be studied in a cell-free system, opened new vistas for biochemistry. The pioneering work of Emil Fischer on carbohydrates, peptides and proteins moreover suggested many new avenues of exploration in the discipline2. An increasing number of investigators into biochemical topics thus began looking for new outlets for publication in journals less dedicated specifically to physiological, chemical or clinical studies – a circumstance which perhaps explains the sudden explosion of new titles in 1905–1906.

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