Discovery and Uses of Penicillin

Topics: Bacteria, Penicillin, Antibiotic Pages: 2 (581 words) Published: January 27, 2015
Why us is penicillin the miracle drug?

We all know that penicillin is one of the top known class of antibiotics prescribed today. Although this drug has been getting numerous applauds since the mid 1900s on its effectiveness; it did not start at that way. The biggest challenge to this discovery was it mass production, which later came down the road.

This drug was discovered in a very unusual way by Alexander Fleming in 1920. Fleming had returned from a summer vacation and began sorting petri dishes, which contained colonies. Which are collections of organism growth. The colonies were that of Staphylococcus; which is a bacterium that causes boils, some throat and abscesses. He noticed in the petri dishes that they contained a blob of mold that was growing. Soon after further review it was said that the areas right around the mold was Penicillium notatum; in which it was clear. It seemed as if the mold had something in it that inhabited the bacterial growth.

Fleming soon called this “mold juice.” He noticed that it was capable of killing a variety of harmful bacteria. These bacteria included streptococcus, meningococcal, and diphtheria bacillus. In due time trying to extract penicillin-incentive bacteria from penicillin sensitive bacteria; however this soon failed and the process was tried again.

The discovery of how this drug was life saving happened from two individuals who let their curious minds wander. The two developed a program using animal experiment and clinical trials in which the team was to produce 500 liters a week of the mold filtrate. They used a variety of places to grow the bacteria. They decided to use culture vessels such as baths, bedpans, milk churns and food tins. They were used due to the fact that they have a tendency to harbor tons of bacterial germs and such. After a few trial and errors a fermentation vessel was designed to make it easier to remove, save space; to extract the broth beneath the surface of the mold.

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