Poggiale, Antoine-Baudoin (or Baudouin)

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(b. Valle di Mezzana, near Ajaccio, Corsica, 9 February 1808; d. Bellevue, Seine-et-Oise, France, 26 August 1879)

chemistry, military hygiene, public health, military pharmacy.

The son of a Corsican country doctor, Poggiale was educated in Ajaccio and Marseilles. In 1828 he entered the military teaching hospital in Strasbourg in order to train for a career as an army pharmacist. Upon graduation in 1828 he was assigned to several posts before obtaining a coveted position at the Val-de-Grace in Paris. This position lasted from 1831 to 1837 and provided the opportunity to earn an M.D. from the Faculty of Medicine in 1833 and to pursue his scientific interests.

Poggiale served as professor of chemistry at the military teaching hospital in Lille (1837 1847) and as chief pharmacist and professor of chemistry at the Val de Grace (1847 1858). In 1858 he became the top ranking pharmacist (pharmacien inspecteur) in the French army and a member of the Army Health Council. In 1856 he was elected to the Paris Academy of Medicine and in 1860 to the Council of Public Hygiene and Health of the Seine Department.

Poggiale belonged to a scientific elite of career military pharmacists in France whose activities spanned more than a century and included such distinguished members as Baycn, Parmentier, Serullas, Fee, Millon, and F. Z. Roussin. Among Poggial’s most important investigations were his analyses of drinking and mineral waters, notably the sources of drinking water for the barracks and fortifications of the Paris region and the water from the Seine and Dhuis rivers. In 1853 he published a painstaking comparative analysis of the bread supplied to the troops in the French and European armies and in Paris custodial institutions; he also compared the quality of commercial flour with that found in military provisions.

Poggiale’s other studies included the chemical composition of blood in humans and animals, the physiological chemistry of sugar and glycogen, and the analysis of milk. The publication of his Traite d’analyse chimique par la method des volumes (Paris, 1858) further enhanced his reputation as an outstanding analytical chemist. In 1860 Poggiale brilliantly defended the application of chemistry to pathology and therapeutics, against the attacks of the eminent clinician Armand Trousseau (1801 1867).


I. Original Works. For listings of Poggiale’s publications, see A. Balland, Travaux scientifiques des pharmaciens militaires francais (Paris, 1882), 90 95; and Royal Society Catalogue of Scientific Papers, IV (1870), 956–957; VIII (1879), 640.

Poggiale’s exchange with Trousseau took place in a lengthy debate in the Paris Academy of Medicine. For Trousseau’s views, see Bulletin de I’Academie imperial de medicine, 25 (1859 1860), 720 723, 733. 746. Poggiale’s rebuttal is to be found in the same vol. on pp. 760 786, 957–987.

II. Secondary Literature. See A. Balland, Les pharmaciens rnilitaires francais (Paris, 1913), 66 70: P. P. H . Blondeau, “Discours prononce par M. Blondeau, president de la Societe de Pharmacie, aux obseques de M. Poggiale,” in Journal de pharmacie et de chimie, 4th ser., 30 (1879), 383 385; E.. A. Bourgorn, “Discours prononce par M. Bourgoin sur la tombe de Poggiale,“in Bulletin de l’;Academie de rnedecine, 2nd ser., 8 (1879), 921–924; P. J . Coulier, “Notice necrologique sur M. Poggiale,” in Recueil de memoires de medecine, de chirurgie et de pharmacie militaries, 3rd ser., 35 (1879), 556–560; and A. Mattei, Notice biographique sur Poggialc (Clermont, Oise, 1879).

Alex Berman