Penicillin Man


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Fleming was never able to purify his samples of penicillin, but he became the first person to publish the news of its germ-killing power. They and their staff developed methods for growing, extracting and purifying enough penicillin to prove its value as a drug.

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World War II had begun by the time their research was showing results. The main research and production was moved to the United States in , to protect it from the bombs pounding England. Work began on how to grow the mold efficiently to make penicillin in the large quantities that would be needed for thousands of soldiers. As the destruction of the war grew, so did interest in penicillin in laboratories, universities and drug companies on both sides of the Atlantic. The scientists knew they were in a race against death, because an infection was as likely to kill a wounded soldier as his wound.

Creating the right environment for growth was the first step in producing enough penicillin to be used as a drug. In Oxford, experiments showed that Penicillium notatum grew best in small shallow containers on a broth of nutrients. Penicillium need lots of air. In the United States, it was discovered that huge "deep fermentation" tanks could be used if sterilized air was pumped continually through the tanks. Production increased even more when corn steep liquor, a thick, sticky by-product of corn processing, was added to the tanks. Corn steep liquor contained concentrated nutrients that increased the yield times.

Formerly considered a waste material, corn steep liquor became a crucial ingredient in the large-scale production of penicillin. Scientists were also determined to find another strain of Penicillium that might grow better in the huge deep fermentation tanks. Army pilots sent back soil samples from all over the world to be tested for molds.

Residents of Peoria, Illinois, were encouraged to bring moldy household objects to the local U. Department of Agriculture laboratory, where penicillin research was being conducted.

Penicillin Man

Laboratory staff members also kept an eye out for promising molds while grocery shopping or cleaning out their refrigerators. In , laboratory worker Mary Hunt brought in an ordinary supermarket cantaloupe infected with a mold that had "a pretty, golden look. The deep fermentation method, the use of corn steep liquor and the discovery of P.

Penicillin was first used on thousands of patients to kill a variety of bacteria as in scarlet fever, pneumonia, meningitis and diphtheria. The scientist worked on the drug, but could not produce it in large, concentrated quantities. In the early s, a large team of scientists from Oxford University led by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain finally made it into the medicine we know of it as today.

In , Fleming shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine with the two scientists.

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You will be surprised to hear that no fewer than 30 European and American universities conferred honorary doctorates on Fleming. Fleming was knighted in His only son Robert became a general practitioner. The penicillin discoverer breathed his last in due to a heart attack. Fleming: He changed the face of medicine. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in Darvel , East Ayrshire , Scotland.

Main article: History of penicillin. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.


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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. According to the rules of the Nobel committee a maximum of three people may share the prize. Fleming's Nobel Prize medal was acquired by the National Museums of Scotland in and is on display after the museum re-opened in In , Time magazine named Fleming one of the Most Important People of the 20th century , stating: It was a discovery that would change the course of history.

A secondary school is named after him in Sofia , Bulgaria. In Athens , a small square in the downtown district of Votanikos is named after Fleming and bears his bust. There are also a number of Streets in greater Athens and other towns in Greece named after either Fleming or his Greek second wife Amalia. Fleming station , on the Thessaloniki Metro system, takes its name from Fleming Street on which it is located, which in term is named after him. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 25 October Les Prix Nobel.

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The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 27 March The Medical Journal of Australia. Bibcode : Natur. Journal of Medical Biography. Bibcode : Sci Stroud: Sutton. Retrieved 11 September Singapore Medical Journal. The Lancet. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Littleton, Colo: Libraries Unlimited. Sutton Publishing. Reprinted from the British Journal of Experimental Pathology —, ".

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Clin Infect Dis. Br J Exp Pathol.

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Keith was probably the first patient to be treated clinically with the mould juice. This structure was not immediately published due to the restrictions of wartime secrecy, and was initially strongly disputed, by Sir Robert Robinson among others, but it was finally confirmed in by Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin using X-ray analysis. The Independent. An English translation by Michael Witty. Fort Myers, April Biology 2, illustrated ed. Nelson Thornes. Retrieved 4 March Penicillin is just one of a very large number of drugs which today are used by doctors to treat people with diseases.

National Museums Scotland. Archived from the original on 23 February The London Gazette Supplement. CBS News. International Historic Chemical Landmarks. American Chemical Society. Retrieved 21 August Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 4 December Retrieved 19 July BBC News. Archived from the original on 25 January

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