[Back to Formatted Version]

Arthur W. Anderson Papers, 1949-2000

By Rachel Lilley

Collection Overview

Title: Arthur W. Anderson Papers, 1949-2000

Predominant Dates: 1953-1980

ID: MSS AndersonA

Primary Creator: Anderson, Arthur Wallace (1914-)

Extent: 1.7 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Arthur W. Anderson Papers are arranged in six series: Series 1. Biographical Materials, circa 1960-2001; Series 2. Correspondence, 1949-2000; Series 3. Lab Notebook, 1980; Series 4. Publications, 1956-1980; Series 5. Reference Materials and Subject Files, 1945-1994; Series 6. Photographs, circa 1955-1970. Within each series, materials are organized either chronologically, or alphabetically by topic, as appropriate.

Date Acquired: 00/00/2001

Languages of Materials: English [eng], Swedish [swe]


The Arthur W. Anderson Papers consist of materials generated and collected by Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and Oregon State College alumnus, Dr. Arthur Wallace Anderson. Anderson graduated from Oregon State College (OSC) in 1952, having earned a PhD in Bacteriology, with minors in Biochemistry and Dairy Husbandry. He worked at OSC from 1953 until his retirement in 1980. The records mostly pertain to Anderson's research at Oregon State University and several European research institutes.

Scope and Content Notes

The Arthur W. Anderson Papers contain biographical materials, correspondence, a lab notebook, publications, reference materials and subject files, and photographs. Topics of research in these records include food-borne pathogens and toxins, food irradiation and preservation, mushrooms and fungi, and single-cell protein generation from agricultural and industrial waste. Of particular interest are articles and reference materials documenting Anderson’s isolation and subsequent investigations of the radiation-resistant bacterium micrococcus radiodurans.

The contents of box-folders 1.05, 1.11, and 1.12, and images from box-folders 2.18 and 2.20, have been digitized and are available upon request.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Arthur Wallace Anderson was born December 2, 1914 in Lisbon, North Dakota to Paul and Alma Anderson. His father, who immigrated from Norway in 1901, worked as a grain rancher, and prior to leaving for college in 1938, Arthur worked as a hired hand on his father’s farm. In 1938, Anderson matriculated at North Dakota State College. He graduated in 1942 with a Bachelor of Science degree and enlisted in the United States Navy’s Officer Training School. During World War II, Anderson served as the commanding officer aboard a submarine destroyer; towards the end of the war he was transferred to the Medical Service Corps and separated from service having achieved the rank of lieutenant. After the war, Anderson returned to the states and to his studies, attending the University of Wisconsin from 1946 to 1947 and graduating with a Master of Science degree. From 1947 to 1949, Anderson was employed by the University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; his research there focused on bacterial nutrition and vitamins.

In 1949, Anderson married Jean Mary Fuller and the couple settled in Corvallis, where Anderson attended Oregon State College (OSC). Anderson graduated in 1952, having earned a PhD in Bacteriology, with minors in Biochemistry and Dairy Husbandry, for his dissertation, Effect of Variation in Composition of Milk on Growth of Lactic Acid Starter-culture Bacteria. After completing his dissertation, Anderson worked as an Assistant Professor in the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) at University of California at Berkeley.

In 1953, Anderson applied for a position in what was then the Bacteriology Department at OSC; according to the reference letter written by then-Acting Chair P.R. Elliker, the nature of his work for the NRL was “considered secret.” Anderson was ultimately hired by OSC as an Assistant Professor in the Bacteriology Department, teaching Sanitary Bacteriology, Food Bacteriology, and General Bacteriology courses. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1959; two years later what was, by then, the Department of Bacteriology and Hygiene, became the Department of Microbiology and Hygiene. In 1964, Anderson was promoted to Full Professor.

Anderson's research primarily focused on pathogenic and toxigenic food microorganisms, and single cell protein and enzymes from agricultural and industrial waste. His research at OSU included the isolation of the first radiation-resistant microorganism, micrococcus radiodurans; for this research he received the Basic Research Award from Oregon State in 1959 and the Governor’s Northwest Scientist Award in 1962. In 1968, Anderson and members of his research team developed a “gel electrophoresis” unit to detect the presence of harmful toxins in food in as little as eight hours; previous methods could take anywhere from 36 hours to 1 week, depending on the toxin. Anderson’s method – which modified a Swedish technique known as the Laurel Method – was initially used to isolate clostridium botulinum, the bacilli which causes botulism. Not only was Anderson’s method faster, but had the added benefit of not requiring the use of animals as test subjects. In the 1970s, Anderson worked on the possibilities of protein production from grass seed and straw, as part of a project to find alternatives to open field burning in the Willamette Valley.

Anderson also did research and consulting work overseas. In 1963, he spent a year at the University of Cambridge’s Low Temperature Research Station in Cambridge, England, a lab engaged in investigating, among other things, the temperature conditions necessary to safely transport food stuffs, nationally and internationally. From 1971 to 1972, Anderson studied at the Meat Research Institute at the University of Bristol in Langford, England. While there, he researched methods to quickly detect harmful food microorganisms, and explored the use of microbial procedures for commercial production, including cellulose as a protein source and pyrolyzed oil as a source of carbon. In 1977, Anderson worked and taught at the University of Sao Paulo, in Campinas, Brazil, while simultaneously consulting at the Instituto de Tecnologia de Alimentos (Institute of Food Technology). That same year, Anderson and biological engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Michigan spent 11 days in Russia, visiting labs interested in the utilization of cellulose waste material. Though much of their visit was spent at the Microbiological Institute for Cellulose Research at Pushchino, Russia, Anderson also visited the Straw Research Center in Kolding, Denmark, and several labs in England to confer with scientists researching cellulose waste.

Thanks to Anderson’s research on uses for cellulose waste – namely straw and other agricultural waste products – Oregon opened its first “gasohol” production plant in 1980. Gasohol is a term used for the mixture of 10% ethyl alcohol (also called ethanol or grain alcohol) with gasoline; Anderson’s research was instrumental in illustrating that cellulose from hydrolyzed straw could be used to create the necessary ethanol. One hundred farmers invested $100 each to help fund the cooperative plant, which was situated in Medford.

Anderson retired from Oregon State University in the summer of 1980, after 27 years at OSU. He continued work as a freelance food industry consultant and researcher, however, consulting with several alcohol production plants in Oregon and commercial firms evaluating the potential of growing mushrooms in straw. Arthur Anderson died October 1, 2005 in Salem, Oregon.

Author: Rachel Lilley

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 2 boxes, including 73 photographs and 6 negatives

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The collection was donated to the former University Archives by Arthur and Jean (Fuller) Anderson in May 2001.

Related Materials:

Additional collections and materials that document the teaching of Bacteriology, and then Microbiology, at Oregon State University include the Microbiology Department Records (RG 191), the Microbiology Department Photographs (P 117), the Oral Histories of the Oregon State University Microbiology Department (OH 024), the Paul R. Elliker Papers (MSS Elliker), the John L. Fryer Papers (MSS Fryer), the Helen M. Gilkey Papers (MSS GilkeyH), and the Clair V. Langton Papers (MSS Langton).

Additional collections and materials documenting food irradiation research, and Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University include the Food Science and Technology Department Records (RG 176), the Food Science and Technology Department Photographs (P 142), and the Microbiology Department Records (RG 191).

The Jean Fuller Anderson Papers, which document the Women's Studies courses Anderson taught at Oregon State University and her work related to economic equity for women, are held by the Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon.

Preferred Citation: Arthur W. Anderson Papers (MSS AndersonA), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Finding Aid Revision History: This finding aid replaces information about the collection that was placed online in 2012.


Anderson, Arthur Wallace (1914-)
Anderson, Jean Fuller

People, Places, and Topics

Agricultural wastes--Research.
Anderson, Arthur Wallace, 1914-
Food--Safety measures.
History of Science
Hops and Brewing
Industrial microbiology.
Oregon State College. Department of Bacteriology and Hygiene
Oregon State University. Department of Microbiology--History.
University History

Forms of Material

Film negatives.
Photographic prints.
Slides (photographs).

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1960-2001
Biographical records, personal documents, and keepsakes are organized into Series 1. Records in this series include resumes, curriculum vitae, and publications lists; certificates of membership and appreciation; financial records and patent information; and materials relating to personnel matters during Anderson’s tenure at Oregon State College. Of particular note in this series is a group of records that suggest Anderson may have applied to serve as Chair of the Department of Microbiology.
Box-Folder 1.1: Curriculum vitae, list of publications, circa 1960-2001
Includes a passport photograph of Anderson, circa 1990.
Box-Folder 1.2: Certificates, 1972-1976
Includes New York Academy of Sciences certificate of membership and two Certificates of Appreciation from Kiwanis International.
Box-Folder 1.3: Personnel materials
Includes a dossier of materials that suggests Anderson may have applied to serve as Chair of the Department of Microbiology.
Box-Folder 1.4: Financial records and patents, 1976-1991
Series 2: Correspondence, 1949-2000

Series 2 is primarily comprised of correspondence relating to Anderson’s career and research, and is arranged chronologically. Early correspondence in the series documents Anderson’s application to continue his graduate studies at OSC in 1949; later correspondence includes letters of thanks from other teachers for his advice or for sending cultures, requests for letters of recommendation, and letters regarding consulting work Anderson undertook in his “retirement.”

Of note is a series of correspondence between Anderson and Jolynne Strang, a Paris American High School student stationed in France with her mother and father, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Strang. Their exchange documents Strang’s own work with micrococcus radiodurans, samples of which she received from Anderson. Also included in this series is a letter celebrating the Department of Microbiology’s 90th “birthday” in 1989; included with the letter is a “History of the Department of Microbiology at Oregon State University,” written by W.B. Bollen.

The contents of box-folder 1.5 has been digitized and is available upon request.

Box-Folder 1.5: 1949-1953
Box-Folder 1.6: 1962-1968
Box-Folder 1.7: 1978-1989
Box-Folder 1.8: 1990-2000
Includes correspondence written by Jean Fuller Anderson regarding the Guinness Book of World Records incorrectly attributing the discovery of micrococcus radiodurans to a scientist other than Anderson.
Series 3: Lab Notebook, 1980
The single lab notebook comprising Series 3 documents Anderson’s – and his partner, Dan Morton’s – research determining growth response of two strains of Flammulina velutipes (also known as “winter mushroom,” or enoki in Japan), given different substrates or growth mediums.  Growth rates were tested once per week for each growth medium: rye grass supplemented with different concentrations of red oak, and rye grass supplemented with ammonium sulfate ( (NH4)2SO4 ).
Box-Folder 1.9: Growth response of Flammulina velutipes on rye grass, 1980
Series 4: Publications, 1956-1980

Series 4 contains reprints of published articles authored by Arthur Anderson. The majority of the publications center on Anderson’s research with micrococcus radiodurans, clostridium botulinum, and staphylococcus aureus; the irradiation of food; and survival rates of food-borne pathogens and toxins after radiation. Also included are reprints of articles documenting Anderson’s research into economically feasible uses for agricultural wastes, namely the fermentation or hydrolyzation of straw to increase nutritive value and/or produce glucose isomerase. Materials in this series are arranged chronologically.

The contents of box-folders 1.11 and 1.12 have been digitized and is available upon request.

Box-Folder 1.10: Bacteria in bread dough fermentations, 1971
Box-Folder 1.11: Irradiation and food toxins, 1956-1973
Includes Anderson's work with micrococcus radiodurans, clostridium botulinum, and staphylococcus aureus.
Box-Folder 1.12: Irradiation and food toxins, undated
Includes Anderson's work with micrococcus radiodurans and the radicidation of seafoods.
Box-Folder 1.13: Microbial processes with economic value, 1978
Includes an incomplete copy of the National Science Foudation publication, "Underexploited Microbial Processes with Potential Economic Value." Anderson was a member of the subpanel that worked on chapters dealing with cellulose degredation.
Box-Folder 1.14: Straw - fermentation, as feed, 1975-1980
Box-Folder 1.15: Yeasts and molds, 1977
Series 5: Reference Materials and Subject Files, 1945-1994

Series 5, Reference Materials and Subject Files, is comprised of publications authored by scientists and researchers other than Anderson and serves to further document Anderson’s research interests and the evolution of those interests. Topics include the use of agricultural crop residue and industrial waste as fuel; cellulose fermentation and conversion to ethyl alcohol; toxins and pathogens such as clostridium botulinum and micrococcus radiodurans; food irradiation and preservation; and mushrooms and other fungi.

Of particular note are materials documenting the 4th Annual Nuclear Science Seminar at the Phillips Petroleum Company Materials Testing Reactor (MTR) in Idaho Falls, Idaho in 1957. These materials include Press Tour fact sheets regarding Gamma Irradiation Facilities at the MTR, a list of abstracts for papers presented at the seminar, and a booklet about the National Reactor Testing Station situated near Pocatello, Idaho.

Materials in this series are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Box-Folder 1.16: Agricultural crop residue and waste, uses, 1978
Box-Folder 1.17: Beer brewing and yeast, circa 1955-1993
Includes publications by Schwartz Laboratories, Inc.
Box-Folder 1.18: Beer brewing and yeast, undated
Includes "Microbiology Applied to Brewing," published by the United States Brewing Academy.
Box-Folder 1.19: Casein precipitation of bacteria, 1962
Box-Folder 1.20: Cellulose fermentation / conversion and ethyl alcohol, 1976-1980
Includes 17 presentation slides on the properties of alcohol and the conversion of cellulose.
Box-Folder 1.21: Clostridium botulinum (botulism), 1961-1968
Publications specifically relate to Clostridium botulinum in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries.
Box-Folder 1.22: Consulting, 1977-1994
Includes information on consulting Anderson did for the Instituto de Tecnologia de Alimentos (Institute of Food Technology) in Campinas, Brazil.
Box-Folder 1.23: Corn, nutritional values, circa 1980
Box-Folder 1.24: Energy farming, 1979
Box-Folder 1.25: Federal Fuels from Biomass program, 1978-1979
Includes Volume III, "Feedstock Availability," and Volume V, "Biochemical Conversion of Biomass to Fuels and Chemicals."
Box-Folder 1.26: Fishing and preservation of fish, circa 1960
Includes materials in Swedish about Gothenburg, Sweden, and coastal fishing in Sweden.
Box-Folder 1.27: General, applied, and ecological microbiology, 1980
Box-Folder 1.28: Greenhouses, circa 1982-1983
Includes one aerial photograph of an unidentified processing plant.
Box-Folder 1.29: Industrial microbiology, circa 1972
Includes publications used as reference materials or course readings for Industrial Microbiology, MB 447, Utilization of Wastes with Microorganisms.
Box-Folder 1.30: Institute of Food Technologists, Oregon section, 1988-1991
Includes a history of the Oregon section of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), and a membership directory for the IFT.
Box-Folder 1.31: Irradiation and food preservation, 1959-1983
Box-Folder 1.32: Irradiation and food toxins, 1945-1959
Box-Folder 2.1: Irradiation and food toxins, 1960-1965
Box-Folder 2.2: Irradiation and food toxins, 1966-1969
Box-Folder 2.3: Irradiation and food toxins, 1970-1984
Box-Folder 2.4: Low Temperature Research Station; Cambridge, England, 1962
Box-Folder 2.5: Mushrooms and fungi, 1975-1978
Box-Folder 2.6: Mushrooms and fungi, 1979-1993
Box-Folder 2.7: Mushrooms and health, 1974
Box-Folder 2.8: National Conference on Food Protection, 1971
Box-Folder 2.9: National Controlled Atmosphere Research Conference, 1981
Box-Folder 2.10: Oak mushroom cultivation, 1980
Box-Folder 2.11: Passive solar hydroponic greenhouse and classroom, circa 1979
Box-Folder 2.12: Phillips Petroleum Company, Materials Testing Reactor (MTR); Idaho Falls, Idaho, 1954-1957
Includes materials relating to the 4th Annual Nuclear Science Seminar held at the Materials Testing Reactor in Idaho Falls, Idaho in 1957.
Box-Folder 2.13: Pulp mill waste and slime growth, 1971
Box-Folder 2.14: Pyrolysis of industrial waste, 1977
Box-Folder 2.15: Radiation sterilization of medical products, 1972
Box-Folder 2.16: Straw - fermentation, use as feed, 1968-1981
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1955-1970

The photographs in Series 6 document Anderson’s lab work, and include images of lab mice, and of the gel electrophoresis unit Anderson created to test for food toxins (disassembled). Also included are microscopic images of micrococcus radiodurans and sarcina RS, and photographs of presentation charts and graphs.

Images from box-folders 2.18 and 2.20 have been digitized and are available upon request.

Box-Folder 2.17: Laboratory mice receiving injections, circa 1955-1970
Box-Folder 2.18: Photographs of charts and graphs, circa 1955-1970
Charts show products derived from aspartic acid and other members of the aspartic and glutamic family. Graphs show percent survival of radiation-resistant micrococcus pyogenes var aureus.
Box-Folder 2.19: Arthur Anderson, circa 1955-1970
Anderson pictured in a lab, adjusting unidentified scientific apparatus. An unidentified woman in a labcoat stands to Anderson's left.
Box-Folder 2.20: Images of micrococcus radiodurans and sarcina RS, circa 1955-1970
Includes an image of lanthanum-stained sarcina.
Box-Folder 2.21: Unidentified scientific apparatus, circa 1955-1970
The apparatus is comprised of the following: electrodes, cooling chambers, upper and lower reservoirs, gel slot, and assembling bolts. May be a photograph of Anderson's gel eletrophoresis unit, used to detect the presence of toxins in food. Includes two negatives.
Box-Folder 2.22: Negatives, circa 1955-1970
Negatives depict an unidentified scientific apparatus, a chart showing culture turbidity for different elements (potassium, manganese), and two graphs showing correlation between protein factor and acid production in milk.
Box-Folder 2.23: Images of microscope slides showing cell division, circa 1958

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.