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Google honours Eva Ekeblad - the pioneering scientist who made alcohol from potatoes

Google honours Eva Ekeblad - the pioneering scientist who made alcohol from potatoes

The internet search engine giant has honoured the work of woman scientist Eva Ekeblad from Sweden on its home page today that led to extraction of alcohol and flour from potatoes.

On Monday, the Google Doodle honors Ekeblad. This discovery paved the way for gluten-free baking and alcohols such as vodka, moonshine and potato wine. She married a count, Claes Claesson Ekeblad, at the age of 16, and, on the occasion of her marriage, was given two castles by her father.

After learning that people in Germany were making liquor from potatoes, the Swedish agronomist grew her own batch and began experimenting. "Her discovery helped reduce starvation in years to come", Google notes.

Thanks to Ekeblad, potatoes helped solve the food crisis in Sweden precipitated by the lack of cereals like barley and oats.

Her sister-in-law, Catherine Charlotte De La Gardie, was also an interesting character: inventing a smallpox vaccine and intervening to stop Sweden's last witch trial in Dalarna in 1758. It was rarely grown outside of the greenhouses of the gentry and even then intended only for animals.

More news: Michigan Gas Prices Fall For July 4th Holiday

The innovation reduced the risk of starvation and relieved a bad strain on the rural poor. In 1748, Ekeblad became the first woman elected to Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences - it would be more than 200 years before the next one was elected.

Eva Ekeblad researched multiple uses for plants.

Ekeblad also discovered a way to bleach cotton textile and yarn with soap in 1751.

Besides her scientific exploits, Ekeblad lived a life of relative comfort as a member of the Swedish nobility.

She died on May 15 1786 aged 61.

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