The investigations of Lord Rayleigh and Sir William Ramsay had shown that indifference to chemical reagents did not sufficiently characterize an unknown gas as nitrogen, and it became necessary to reinvestigate other cases of the occurrence of "nitrogen" in nature.
Solutions of yttria salts in their behaviour to reagents are not unlike those of zirconia.
The study of the differentiation of protoplasm was at that time seldom undertaken, and no particular attention was paid either to fixing it, to enable staining methods to be accurately applied to it, or to studying the action of chemical reagents upon it.
In some cases it shows, when submitted to a careful examination under the highest powers of the microscope, and especially when treated with reagents of various kinds, traces of a more or less definite structure in the form of a meshwork consisting of a clear homogeneous substance containing numerous minute bodies known as microsomes, the spaces being filled by a more fluid ground-substance.
Cells treated by reagents, has been interpreted by many observers as a network of threads embedded in a homogeneous ground-substance.