Who discovered the first anti-biotic and what was it?

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besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Alexander Fleming discovered bacteria in a very fascinating way. He had a contaminated bacteria culture and thought it looked strange. He decided to take a closer look at it and what he found was startling. He noticed the that a colony of bacteria had a patch of mold growing close to it. The bacteria close to this patch of mold was not growing so he hypothesized that the mold produced something that inhibited bacteria growth. After many experiments he found that this substance did prohibit bacteria growth an he gave it the name penicillin.

Technology at this time made it impossible to produce large amounts of penicillin. It was not until after World War II that technology was advanced enough to make mass quantities of this antibiotic.

giorgiana1976 | Student

The first antibacterial substance that can be considered as a limited-spectrum antibiotic was Salvarsan and it was discovered in 1910, by the German physician and chemist Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915). Salvarsan was a medicine meant to cure syphilis, which was very prevalent at that time.

Salvarsan was followed, in 1928, by the epochal discovery of Penicillin, by Alexander Fleming, who noted that secretion of green mold "Penicillium notatum (Penicillium chrysogenum) destroys bacteria colony from the laboratory.

Another finding which is worth mentioning is the discovery in 1935 of sulphonamides, by Gerhard Domagk, who is not an antibiotic, being not bactericidal but only bacteriostatic.  It follows the discovery of a series of antibiotics as streptomycin, tetracycline, etc.

mkcapen1 | Student

Sir Alexander Fleming a Scottish Biologist is attributed as having discovered the first antibiotic and it was penicillin.  It was derived from the mold Penicillium chrysogenum which could be found on food and even waste.  His discovery happened in 1928.

Fleming was also a renowned writer in the scientific field and well known for presenting on various medical topics.  In 1999 Time Magazine included Fleming as one of the most important men of the 21st century.  His contribution of anti-biotics helped to save many lives and led the way for the advancement in the study of antibiotics.


krishna-agrawala | Student

Antibiotics are microorganisms used as drugs that act on the principle of being selectively toxic to certain type of cells. Thus antibiotics attack and kill only the certain of pathogenic cells. These include disease causing organisms and cancerous cells. Different types of antibiotic drugs have been developed to treat different diseases.

People have used antibiotic substances such as moulds to treat skin infections for thousands of years. However, the first modern antibiotic drug named penicillin was first identified in1928 by a British scientist Sir Alexander Flemming (1881-1955). However the took some time to isolate penicillin and produce drug from it. This was first achieved in 1941.


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