Penicillin surface fermentation vessel, c 1942.
Penicillin production by the Penicillium mould needs oxygen, unlike beer production from yeast. Therefore the fungus is most easily grown on the surface of a shallow nutrient soup. At Oxford University, early in the Second World War, the biochemist Norman Heatley developed apparatus for producing enough penicillin for its properties to be tested. He designed this cheap-to-produce vessel specially for growing Penicillium mould and harvesting penicillin. This vessel enabled the soupy nutrient product to be poured out easily from beneath the felt-like mould.
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