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Affect, friendship and the “as yet unknown”: Rat feeding experiments in early vitamin research

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the ways in which specific experimental practices engage the material world and generate an encounter between scientists and the as yet unknown. It considers the establishment of feeding rations, repetition and rhythm within the experimental systems and, finally, the scientists sense of the animals well-being as established through touch and visual observation as specific aspects of the rat feeding experiments used by scientists investigating the as yet unknown food factor. Scientists began their investigations into the as yet unknown substance in food with animal feeding experiments using diets consisting of purified known food substances, isolated proteins, carbohydrates and fat. Rat feeding experiments are constituted, in key respects, by the embedding of the different durations of various aspects of the material assemblage.

Keywords: rat feeding experiments; vitamin



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