In March 1937, Hans Krebs and his colleague conducted an experiment observing the metabolic rate decline of the minced breast of a freshly killed pigeon suspended in solution. According to an article in The Scientist, by adding a salt of citric acid, they found they could keep the tissue "alive" for three times as long, and additional experiments showed the cyclical nature of the pathway which regenerates citric acid with each cycle and releases ATP. But alas, when Krebs submitted his paper to Nature, he was told that the journal had a "backlog of 'letters'" and couldn't publish it without "significant delay." But in 1953, writes The Scientist's Brendan Borrell, Krebs was more than vindicated when he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering this citric acid cycle — the cellular pathway that converts carbohydrates, fats and proteins into energy — named the "Krebs cycle" in his honor. It took Nature a few more years to realize its mistake. In 1988, seven years after Krebs had died, an anonymous editor published a letter in the journal calling the rejection an "egregious error."
Nature Too Backlogged to Publish Krebs' Paper in 1937
Mar 25, 2010