Who discovered agar?
About a year later, in 1882, agar was first used as a solidifying agent. It had been discovered by a Japanese innkeeper, Minora Tarazaemon. The story goes that he threw out extra seaweed soup and discovered the next day that it had gelled during the cold winter night. Agar had been used by the East Indies Dutch to make jellies and jams. Fannie Eilshemius Hesse, the New Jersey -- born wife of Walther Hesse, one of Koch's assistants, had learned of agar from a Dutch acquaintance and suggested its use when she heard of the difficulties with gelatin. Agar -- solidified medium was an instant success and continues to be essential in all areas of microbiology.