This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
By the following, which we find in the London Gardener's Chronicle, it will be seen that the discovery is somewhat akin to those of Prof. Burrill and others in this country:
"When plants are deprived of oxygen gas it appears that alcohol is formed in all their tissues without the aid of any ferment. If a vegetable cell containing sugar be cut off from its supply of oxygen - be suffocated, in fact - the sugar it contains becomes broken up or changed into carbonic acid, alcohol, and other products. Moreover, the various alcoholic ferments only produce their effects under the same conditions. Alcoholic fermentation, then, depends solely on the suffocation of a living cell containing sugar. Starting from these ascertained facts, M. Van Tieghem, in a recent number of the Annales Agronomiques, alludes to a peculiar disease in apple trees due to a suffocation of the roots, followed by the production of alcohol in their tissues. On microscopic examination the tissues were found healthy, except the medullary rays, the cells of which, instead of containing starch or sugar, contained brown oily globules, the residue left after the formation of the alcohol, which latter is diffused throughout the root, tinging the cells of a characteristic brown color, and giving rise to an easily detected alcoholic odor.
Judging from these appearances what was the nature of the disease, M. Van Tieghem made inquiries as to the character of the soil, and from this, as well as the fact that the season had been extremely wet, his diagnosis was confirmed, and he in consequence prescribed efficient drainage as the remedy for the disease, and with good effect.