History of Technology 5: Pasteurization

Pasteurization is a process that kills microbes in food and drink. We'd say sorry to the microbes, but, uh...we really like milk that doesn't kill us.

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TechnologyHistory of Technology

Transcript

00:29

small not too famous yet but clearly very talented and when we say talented

00:35

we mean really good at promoting a human health and growing our dairy industry so [Young girl appears on dairy farm]

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yeah just like the Wallis kid... pasteurization is the process of heating

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foods like milk to a certain temperature in order to keep most of the bacteria

00:47

from leading long and happy lives it sounds simple enough right well not when [Man with a glass of milk]

00:53

nobody knows how that bacteria exists well a guy named Louis Pasteur was the

00:58

first one to figure it out how? well by using his handy-dandy microscope to

01:04

investigate the bacteria living in foods this gave him the brilliant idea to [Louis inspecting bacteria through microscope]

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slaughter all those microorganisms by boiling them to death

01:13

you know sucked for them but great news for us milk lovers, okay okay

01:17

some out there are thinking how is boiling an invention the pasteurization

01:22

is the reason our milk comes in nice plastic jugs instead of straight from

01:27

our family cow and it's also one of the reasons we aren't all dying of [Boy on death bed]

01:31

tuberculosis on a slightly related note people seriously used to believe that

01:35

tuberculosis caused vampirism that's one way to drain a cow luckily Louis Pasteur

01:40

came along to stop us from putting stakes through the hearts of our family

01:44

members it was an incredible one-man show [Man playing guitar]

01:47

well many technologies and systems are invented piecemeal over tens or hundreds

01:52

of years by lots of people tinkering and experimenting well the textile industry

01:57

is a good example it wasn't mechanized by a single person [People working in textile factory]

02:00

it took lots of inventions investors and laborers all working together to get it

02:04

done well pasteurization was discovered by a single guy named Pasteur who

02:09

obviously named the process after himself

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of course, Pasteur did get some inspiration from

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emperor napoleon the third who was the nephew of the napoleon we all know and [Pasteur sitting on couch and Napoleon III appears through the door]

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love the emperor enlisted Pasteur to save France from the diseases found in

02:24

some wine so Pasteur obliged he probably

02:27

didn't have much of a choice there Pasteur's genius was in figuring out the

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exact time and temperature that would annihilate the evil microscopic squiggly

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things without changing the taste of the wine which for the french would have [French man takes sip of wine]

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been a fate worse than death right well it wasn't too long before

02:45

people were using the same process on beer and vinegar it took a few more

02:50

years for the process of pasteurization to be applied to milk well why was its [Beer, Milk and Vinegar boiling in pans]

02:55

use in milk production so important well back in the day most people who consumed

03:01

dairy had a dairy cow somewhere nearby that meant the time between milking the

03:06

cow and drinking the milk was really short and bacteria didn't have a chance [Young boy milking a cow]

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to take up residence but in the 19th century more people started living in

03:15

cities milk had to be shipped from rural areas and shipping in the nineteenth [Horse dragging bottled milk in a cart]

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century wasn't exactly speedy or refrigerated so diseases like

03:24

tuberculosis had a field day and when tuberculosis has a field day

03:29

people die yeah horrible death milk did not do a body good pasteurizing the milk [Milk pasteurizing in glass containers]

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made it last longer and conveniently killed tuberculosis so naturally

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pasteurization changed the nature of the dairy industry...Farms could be larger and

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further away which encouraged a more industrial model of agriculture and of

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course Pasteur didn't stop with pasteurization his confirmation of germ

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theory allowed him to do valuable work on rabies anthrax and smallpox remind us

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to thank him the next time we find ourselves not dying of one of those [Boy thanking and hugging Pasteur]

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horrible diseases