Dr. Flemming is probably the most famous scientists in the field of Microbiology. He’s renowned for the discovery of penicilin out of his culture of microorganisms of the Penicillium sp fungus.
The history of his discovery is that Fleming had been investigating the properties of staphylococci. Once, he noticed that one culture was contaminated with a fungus, and that the colonies of staphylococci immediately surrounding the fungus had been destroyed, whereas other staphylococci colonies farther away were normal.
Fleming grew the mould in a pure culture and found that it produced a substance that killed a number of disease-causing bacteria. He identified the mould as being from the genus Penicillium, from where he extracted and purified the substance Penicilllin.
He investigated its positive anti-bacterial effect on many organisms, and noticed that it affected bacteria such as staphylococci and many other Gram-positive pathogens that cause scarlet fever, pneumonia, meningitis and diphtheria, but not typhoid fever or paratyphoid fever, which are caused by Gram-negative bacteria, for which he was seeking a cure at the time. It also affected Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhoea, although this bacterium is Gram-negative.
Fleming published his discovery in 1929, in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology but little attention was paid to his article. He became famous afterwards because penicillin was largely used during the Second World War and saved mane soldier’s lives.
This was the kick-off of the field of antibiotic therapeutics. Today, the horizon is broader and much hope is deposited on the daily use of probiotics like kefir, kombusha and the modulation of the gut microbiota.
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