Sir Alexander Fleming in his lab.

Sir Alexander Fleming in his lab.

H406/0051

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Caption

Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), Nobel laureate and discoverer of penicillin. Fleming studied medicine at St.Mary's, London, as a result of a small legacy. He made his famous discovery in 1928 whilst studying an enzyme called lysozyme. Fleming had left a culture dish of Staphylococci sp. uncovered and it became contaminated with an airbourne mould. He noticed that the bacteria were killed near the mould, which he called Penicillin notatum. Later, others isolated a chemical from this that was bactericidal and non-toxic, called penicillin. It was not until WW2 that large-scale production started, but Fleming became a folk hero, winning the 1945 Nobel Prize.

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