What Does the American Civil War Have to Do with Choline?
Nothing, but while the North and South faced each other at Manassas in the Second Battle of Bull Run (Aug 1862) in the new world, chemists in the old world were using new tools to explore and characterize various tissues and body fluids. Adolf Strecker (1822-1871) was one such pioneering German scientist who was trying to determine the composition of bile from a bull. In 1862 he found a chemical that was rich in nitrogen and he named it choline (bile = 'chole' in Greek). Bile is rich in lecithin, which is the name that was first given to the phospholipid found in bile that contains choline, phosphatidylcholine.