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Chapter 5 : Antibiotic Resistance

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Antibiotic Resistance, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

Sir Alexander Fleming, studying the properties of bacteria at St. Mary's Hospital in London in the late 1920s, returned from vacation to find that he had accidentally left out a number of culture plates, one of which had become contaminated by mold. At that time, bacterial cultures were made in liquid or agar media in Petri dishes. In a dish of growing staphylococci, Fleming noted a clear area without bacterial growth around the moldy patch, while the rest of the bacteria on the plate had grown normally. From this, he deduced that the fungus might be capable of actually killing the bacteria. Fleming rapidly identified the invader as (now known as ). He created an extract from this fungus that he found was effective not only against staphylococcus but also against the bacteria responsible for scarlet fever (group A ), diphtheria (), pneumonia (pneumococcus), and meningitis. He named the active agent in his fungus extract . Fleming published his discovery in 1929, noting in passing that penicillin could be useful injected or applied as an effective antiseptic agent against bacteria. Unfortunately, penicillin was initially very difficult to purify and isolate in quantities sufficient for testing. It was not until a decade later that Australian pharmacologist Howard Florey and German biochemist Ernst Chain successfully isolated penicillin. Trials of penicillin in humans that began in 1941 had spectacular results. In May 1943, British soldiers fighting in Algeria received the first injections of penicillin, produced in the United States. Fleming, Florey, and Chain shared the 1945 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on penicillin and its therapeutic applications.

Citation: Cossart P. 2018. Antibiotic Resistance, p 29-38. In The New Microbiology: From Microbiomes to CRISPR. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670117.ch5
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Figures

Image of Figure 11.
Figure 11.

An antibiogram is an antibiotic sensitivity test. Disks containing different antibiotics are placed on a layer of bacteria grown in a petri dish. A clear zone around the disk can be seen when bacteria susceptible to the antibiotic are unable to grow or have been killed. If bacteria are resistant to the antibiotic, they will be able to grow around the antibiotic-containing disks.

Citation: Cossart P. 2018. Antibiotic Resistance, p 29-38. In The New Microbiology: From Microbiomes to CRISPR. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781683670117.ch5
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