Gerardus Johannes Mulder

Gerardus Johannes Mulder (27 December 1802 – 18 April 1880) was a Dutch organic and analytical chemist.

Early life

Mulder was born in Utrecht and earned a medical degree from Utrecht University.


He became a professor of chemistry at Rotterdam and later at Utrecht. While at Utrecht University, he described the chemical composition of protein. He claimed that albuminous substances are made up of a common radical, protein, and that protein had the same empirical formula, except for some variation in amounts of sulfur and phosphorus, long before the polymer nature of proteins was recognised after work by Hermann Staudinger and Wallace Carothers.

He was the first to use the name protein, coined by Jöns Jacob Berzelius, in a publication, his 1838 paper 'On the composition of some animal substances' (originally in French but translated in 1839 to German). In the same publication, he also proposed that animals draw most of their protein from plants.[1][2][3]

Augustus Voelcker was Mulder’s assistant for a year from 1846.[4]

In 1850, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He died in Bennekom.


  1. Bulletin des Sciences Physiques et Naturelles en Néerlande (1838). pg 104. SUR LA COMPOSITION DE QUELQUES SUBSTANCES ANIMALES
  2. Hartley, Harold (1951). "Origin of the Word 'Protein.'". Nature. 168 (4267): 244. Bibcode:1951Natur.168..244H. doi:10.1038/168244a0.
  3. "Ueber die Zusammensetzung einiger thierischen Substanzen". Journal für Praktische Chemie (in German). 16: 129–152. 1839. doi:10.1002/prac.18390160137.
  4. John Christopher Augustus Voelcker, (1899) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


  • Ihde, Aaron (1964) The Development of Modern Chemistry, Harper and Row, pages 359 and 423–424.

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