James B. Sumner

James Batcheller Sumner ( born November 19, 1887 in Canton, Massachusetts, † August 12 1955 in Buffalo, New York ) was an American chemist and Nobel laureate.


James Batcheller Sumner was born the son of Charles and Elizabeth Sumner edge. The original left-hander became the right-handed after his left arm had to be amputated above him the elbow joint as a result of a hunting accident. He was married three times and had two children. The first marriage to Bertha Louise Ricketts had from 1915 to 1930 inventory. 1931 Sumner married again. The marriage with Agnes Paulina Lundkvist was also divorced. From the third marriage, which was closed in 1943 with Mary Morrison Beyer, come two children. Sumner died of cancer.


1906 Sumner began studying electrical engineering at Harvard, but switched after a few weeks into the study chemistry. As part of his thesis, he published his first work to attempt to synthesize papaverine abhandelte. In 1910 he completed his studies. After studying Sumner joined the Sumner Padding Knitting Company, a knitting mill, in which his uncle Frederick W. Sumner was the director. After a few months he was on the point in favor of Mt Allison College in Sackville, New Brunswick, where he taught chemistry for a semester. Then he took a post as assistant in the Department of Chemistry at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, he also gave up quickly to continue his studies in chemistry at Harvard. He reached the final as a master in 1913 and his doctorate in 1914 with the work The formation of urea in the Animal Body ( The formation of urea in the animal body ) under Otto Folin. Parts of it were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

In 1914, Sumner a position as Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Cornell University in Ithaca. In 1926, isolated and crystallized Sumner first time an enzyme, urease. The 1926 published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry discovery that the enzyme from Canavalia ensiformis, the jack bean can be isolated and is identical to globulin was, however, greeted with skepticism by other biochemists. After 1930, the crystallization of pepsin, trypsin and chymotrypsin by John Howard Northrop and Kunitz was published, the work found greater acceptance. 1938 Sumner was appointed professor of biochemistry at the zoological department of the College of Arts and Sciences. The site was two years later, the College of Agriculture assumed. There was established in 1945 a Department of Biochemistry, 1947 a laboratory for enzyme chemistry built, the Sumner board as director.

Sumner received in 1946 half of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry " for his discovery of crystallisability of enzymes ". He crystallized among other concanavalin A and the enzyme urease, which he isolated from the jack bean. The second half of the prize went to John Howard Northrop and Wendell Meredith Stanley.

In the years 1950 to 1952 Sumner published together with Karl Myrbäck " The Enzymes". Two runs with two volumes each comprise 2800 pages and include contributions from a total of 87 scientists. One day after a symposium at Cornell University as a farewell to Sumner and Leonard Maynard in May 1955, Sumner was hospitalized. He could never leave the hospital.



  • Textbook of biological chemistry. Macmillan, New York 1927
  • James Batcheller Sumner, George Frederick Somers: Chemistry and methods of enzymes. Academic Press, New York 1943, 1947 and 1953
  • James Batcheller Sumner, George Frederick Somers: Laboratory experiments in Biological Chemistry. Academic Press, New York 1944 and 1949
  • James Batcheller Sumner, Charles Mÿrback: Enzymes: Chemistry and mechanism of action. Academic Press, New York 1950
  • James Sumner Batcheller Karl Mÿrbäck: The Enzymes, Vol 2, Academic Press, New York 1952