Penicillium mould presented by Alexander Fleming, 1935
In 1928 Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), a British bacteriologist, observed that a stray growth of Penicillium mould could affect colonies of bacteria. Around a felt-like mould he noticed a sterile area where the growth of bacteria had stopped – although he didn’t realise the potential uses of penicillin. Penicillin was eventually isolated in 1940, and from 1942 became an important drug.
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Techniques and Technologies:
The first antibiotic drug to treat infections which is made from the mould penicillium. Its discovery is attributed to Alexander Fleming in 1928.
Branch of biology that deals with micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and their effects.
A substance that destroys bacteria or slows their growth or reproduction.
Micro-organisms which can cause disease but have an important role in global ecology.
A substance that is used to treat infections.
Glossary: penicillium mould
A collective growth of penicillium caused by bacteria. This was how penicillin was first discovered and grown by Alexander Fleming.
Glossary: sulfa drug
A group of antibiotics. Sulfa drugs were ‘wonder-drugs’ before penicillin and other antibiotics. They were used to treat diseases such as bronchitis and pneumonia.