WIM VAN EGMOND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY WIM VAN EGMOND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Timelapse footage of the growth of a culture of the mould Penicillium chrysogenum, the source of the antibiotic drug penicillin. This is a common mould often found growing on food or in damp environments. It comprises a fast-spreading network of hyphae (white) which absorb nutrients from its surroundings. As it matures, it produces blue-green conidia, long chains of reproductive spores. It produces penicillin to help it outcompete bacteria in its environment. The antibiotic properties of this compound were first discovered by Alexander Fleming in London, UK, in 1928. Mass production of penicillin as an antibiotic drug began with a colony taken from a mouldy cantaloupe melon found in Peoria, Illinois, USA, in 1942. This clip was filmed at one frame every 15 minutes (speeded up 22,500 times).
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