Eijkman, Christiaan (1858–1930), Dutch physiologist. Eijkman introduced his test for coliform bacteria in a 1904 paper. His most important work, however, concerned the etiology of beriberi. While in the Dutch East Indies, he studied fowl affected with polyneuritis, a condition similar to beriberi, and discovered in 1897 that the disease was caused by a diet of polished rice. A cure was effected by restoring the discarded hulls to the diet. In 1929 Eijkman was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.