left uncovered for several days. When Fleming found that the dish had become contaminated with a mold, he was about to discard the culture until he noticed that the mold was dissolving all the bacteria near it. Recognizing the importance of what was happening in the petri dish, Fleming kept a sample of the mold growing in a test tube and examined it with a microscope. He tested it against several types of bacteria and found that something in the mold inhibited the growth of the bacteria. The mold was from the genus Penicillium, so Fleming named the presumed antibacterial component penicillin. However, Fleming was unsuccessful in his attempts to isolate the bactericidal material and eventually abandoned his efforts. In 1935 at Oxford University, pathologist Howard Florey and biochemist Ernst Chain had been researching antibacterial substances when they stumbled across an article by Fleming about his work with penicillin. After obtaining a culture of Fleming's original mold, Florey and Chain were able to extract and purify the penicillin. Florey began testing the substance on animals and found that it was nontoxic as well as an effective antibiotic. Furthermore, it did not harm living cells or interfere with the... [continues]
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