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Great Achievements of the 20th Century: Antibiotics

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One of the greatest achievements in the 20th century was the invention and mass production of antibiotics. Antibiotics or antimicrobials are chemical drugs that are used to treat a variety of different infectious bacterial diseases by destroying or slowing the growth of the bacteria. Antibiotics are toxic to the target cell but do not harm the host. They are designed to attack various kinds of parasites, fungus, and bacteria. Contrary to popular belief antibiotics do not work against viruses like those that cause the common cold. Antibiotics are broken down into different classifications because antibiotics are selective killers, which mean that it has been manufactured to kill a certain malicious bacteria strain. Each antimicrobial differs from one another by their physical and chemical properties and by their antibacterial spectrum of activity. The different kinds of antibiotics fight off the infection in different ways. The different ways the antibiotic functions is by inhibiting the bacterial cell from metabolizing, by preventing the bacteria’s cell wall synthesizing, by creating a permeable membrane of the bacteria cell, or by suppressing nucleic acid transcription and replication. Most antibiotics today are semisynthetic, which means their natural derivative has been altered. Antibiotics have two distinct groups that was separated by their effect on bacteria. Bactericidal antimicrobials kills bacteria while bacteriostatic agents hinder the bacteria from growing or reproducing. They are also seperated depending on their activity sepectrum. Narrow antibiotics target a spesfic group of bacteria while a broad spectrum targets many different kinds of cells.
The first antibiotic and most well known is penicillin. It was discov...

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... to. Penicillin works by inhibiting the bacterial cell wall from synthesizing.The bacteria's cell wall is made up of mucoprotiens, which is a polymer made up of amino acids and sugars bonded together to form the cell wall. The polysaccharide chains, which is a covalently bonded carbohydrate to another functional group, are linked together by peptide cross linkage. Penicillin enters the bacteria cell through the cell wall. Penicillin Binding proteins are used in bacterial cells to catalyze several reactions that ultimately result in the formation of the cell wall. The binding sites in normal bacteria cells are responsible for synthesising cross-linked. The penicillin becomes covalently bonded to the enzyme’s activation site. This makes the binding sites inactive making the cell swell with water. Eventually the cell will burst because of the influx of water molecules.
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