The Development of Penicillin

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The Development of Penicillin

I think each of the individuals who contributed to the development of


deserves some credit.

Fleming, who started off the whole process of the establishment of

penicillin, worked in a military hospital in the first world war. He

found that the antiseptic that was in use at the time did not prevent

infection in deep wounds.

After the war he went on to find a substance that could kill germs

effectively. He discovered that a natural substance in tears, called

lysozyme, would kill some germs , but not those that caused disease

and infection.

He later carried out research into the germs that turned wounds

septic. This meant growing the

germs on agar in culture dishes. When he came round to cleaning a

discarded culture dish, he noticed mould spore had lodged itself on

one of them. He later noticed that around the mould, germs, had

stopped growing. He was very curious to find out why this was

happening and was determined to find out more about this unusual


The mould was a member of the penicillin notatum family. It produced a

bacteria killing juice which Fleming named Penicillin.

He carried out further experiments with the mould. He grew further

quantities of the mould and found that it stopped other deadly germs

growing. However if Penicillin was going to be of use in treating

humans, a way of turning the mould into a pure drug had to be found.

Fleming was unable to do so.

Even though he wasn't successful in turning the mould juice into a

pure drug he did made a lot of progress compared to that of doctors

thousands of years ago. He played an important part in the development

of medicine. His experiences in the war helped him to make a major

advance in medicine. His observation that the antiseptic formerly

known as carbolic acid wasn't effective in the treatment of wounds

caused him to search for an alternative. If these events did not
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