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Antibiotics

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Antimicrobial Drugs

Ehrlich’s Magic Bullets

The birth of modern chemotherapy is credited to the efforts of Paul Ehrlich in Germany during the early part of the twentieth century.

While attempting to stain bacteria without staining the surrounding tissue, he speculated about some "magic bullet" that would selectively find and destroy pathogens but not harm the host.

Fleming and Penicillin

In 1928, Alexander Fleming observed

that the growth of the bacterium

Staphylococcus aureus was inhibited in the area surrounding the colony of a mold that had contaminated a Petri plate. The mold was identified as

Penicillium notatum, and its active compound, which was isolated a short time later, was named penicillin

Similar inhibitory reactions between colonies on solid media are commonly observed in microbiology, and the mechanism of inhibition is called antibiosis. From this word comes the term antibiotic, a substance produced by microorganisms that in small amounts inhibits another microorganism.

Chemotherapy

The use of drugs to treat a disease

Selective toxicity: A drug that kills harmful microbes without damaging the host

Antibiotic/Antimicrobial

Antibiotic: Chemical produced by a microorganism that kills or inhibits the growth of another microorganism

Antimicrobial agent: Chemical that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms

More than half of our antibiotics are produced by species of Streptomyces, filamentous bacteria that commonly inhabit soil.

A few antibiotics are produced by endosporeforming bacteria such as Bacillus,

and others are produced by molds, mostly of the genera Penicillium and Cephalosporium.

Microbial

Sources

of

Antibiotics

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