Herbert W. Conn’s international fame in dairy bacteriology began during his tenure as the bacteriologist at the Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station on the campus of the Connecticut Agricultural College (1888-1906). His research on the formation of butter and the causes of milk spoilage led to advances in bacterial cultivation and dairy foodstuff production. His findings served as the basis for the “Butter Exhibition” at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, which allowed the public to taste flavors of butters made using different bacteria.
He founded the American Academy of Public Health, served on the New York Commission on Milk Standards, and was Director of the Cold Spring Harbor Biological Laboratory from 1889-1897. At the inaugural meeting of the Society held at Yale University in 1899, Conn presented research that reflected his achievements at the Station. His presentation, “Natural Varieties of Bacteria,” included an exhibit of cultures of a highly variable Micrococcus which he had isolated from milk.
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