NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sir Alexander Fleming the Scottish Bacteriologist (1881-1955) standing in front of a blackboard. His chief discovery was made in 1928 when he stumbled across the penicillin fungus. A fortuitous accident in his laboratory infected a discarded culture of the bacterium Staphylococcus sp. with traces of a fungus called Penicillium notatum . He noticed that secretions from the fungus destroyed any of the bacterial colonies in the vicinity. The secretion was named an antibiotic. Clinical trials and the commercial production of antibiotics did not occur until the Second World War.
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