ANTIBIOTIC to be used successfully in the treatment of bacterial infections. Antibiotics are substances which are formed by living organisms. They are produced by MOLDS, soil organisms, and BACTERIA. Antibiotics interfere seriously with the organisms which produce disease. Penicillin has been used to treat many diseases that once were a great threat to life.
In 1928, SIR ALEXANDER FLEMING made a very great discovery. He found that a simple mold could destroy disease-producing bacteria. He noticed that a large colony of staphylococcus bacteria became transparent and hence dead, when they grew near a contaminating mold. This observation was the key to the discovery.
Fleming cultivated the mold in liquid broth, and noticed that during growth a substance was formed which inhibited the growth of some organisms. He called this penicillin, for the mold was Penicillium notatum.
Fleming then showed by experimentation that the extract containing penicillin was not poisonous to animals.
Since penicillin is a product of a mold, other species of molds were investigated for the presence of substances with similar properties. Thus a large number of antibiotic agents were discovered.
At present, several different forms of penicillin are known, and have been synthesized in the laboratory.