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Penicillin

 
   
 
Penicillin is one of the earliest discovered and widely used antibiotic agents, derived from the Penicillium mold. Antibiotics are natural substances that are released by bacteria and fungi into the environment, as a means of inhibiting other organisms - it is chemical warfare on a microscopic scale.
In 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming observed that colonies of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus could be destroyed by the mold Penicillium notatum, proving that there was an antibacterial agent there in principle. This principle later lead to medicines that could kill certain types of disease-causing bacteria inside the body.
At the time, however, the importance of Alexander Fleming's discovery was not known. Use of penicillin did not begin until the 1940s when Howard Florey and Ernst Chain isolated the active ingredient and developed a powdery form of the medicine.

 
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