Alexander Fleming: The Discovery of Penicillin
For the scientific journal I investigated on Alexander Fleming. I explained the different problems, factors, meanings, and results that Alexander Fleming had when he was discovering penicillin. Alexander Fleming is best known for his discovery of penicillin in 1928. He calls his discovery of penicillin an “dramatic discovery”, meaning he did not intend to discover penicillin. Furthermore, this journal addresses how penicillin has affected death rates and even modern life. As a result, Alexander Fleming’s “dramatic discovery” of penicillin has helped millions of lives in the past, as well as today, and will continue on in the future. (Britannica Online School Edition)
Before penicillin was discovered the death rates were really high. Many people died from bacteria growth, causing blood poisoning and other fatal diseases. In the past, many people had deep wounds that got infected and could not be sanitized or cleaned. Even a simple everyday cut could cause infections and death. Bacteria growth caused millions of deaths, penicillin was the first type of antibiotic that saved millions of people from dying.
(Britannica Online School Edition)
On a September morning in 1928, Alexander Fleming took out a pile of petri dishes he had placed on a bench before he left to go on a vacation with his family. Fleming was looking through the dishes to see which ones he could retain, but many of the dishes were contaminated. He then placed each of those in an ever growing pile in a tray of Lysol. Alexander Fleming was mainly in search of a “wonder drug” that would not harm the human body, only to kill the bacteria. While sorting out the petri dishes he noticed something strange about one dish. He noticed that a mold had grown on the dish when he was away. However, the mold had seemed to kill the bacteria surrounding it. After observing the petri dish, Fleming realized that the mold had capability of killing bacteria. Fleming spent weeks growing more mold and figuring out the substance the mold had that could kill the bacteria. But after finding out more about the mold, Fleming wanted to figure out where the mold had came from. It turned out that the mold belonged to La Touche’s room below Fleming’s. It seemed to have travelled all the way up to Fleming’s room. Fleming continued conduct numerous experiments to verify the effect of the mold and weather it would kill other harmful bacteria. Surprisingly, the mold had killed a large amount of the bacteria. (About, Britannica Online School Edition)
While Fleming was discovering deadly bacteria in 1928, he found a mold forming on one of his bacteria cultures. He noticed that the bacteria surrounding the mold had disappeared. Fleming kept a strain of mold alive and began testing it on laboratory animals. In 1929 he published his first medical paper about a powerful microbe killer that did not injure human tissue. Later on in 1938 a team of Oxford University scientists, Howard Florey and Ernst B. Chain remembered the research paper. Both of the Oxford scientists were credited for refining Fleming’s discovery of penicillin. (Britannica Online School Edition, Zephyrus)
Fleming’s discovery of antibiotics has environmental factors. To start of with the environmental factor, it relates to Fleming’s discovery of antibiotics because of the use on animals. Since the beginning of antibiotics, animals were affected. Antibiotics would not have been in use today if it had not been tested on laboratory animals such as guinea pigs, and rats. When antibiotics was first discovered, it was tested on humans. Sir Howard Florey started using mice because he only had a little amount of penicillin left, leading him to not test it on humans. Florey kept on testing penicillin on animals because the results on the mice were so convincing. Antibiotics has not only affected animals in the past it is still affecting them now. In places like the United States, Livestock producers are feeding antibiotics to animals to make them grow fatter and faster. Many people have been complaining and saying that they should not be feeding them to make them grow, they should be feeding antibiotics to animals in need of it. Antibiotics is a drug used to treat sick human beings and animals, it is not supposed to be used on animals for growth promotion. Feeding drugs to healthy animals is not doing any good for the animals, the environment and as well as for our future. (Chicago Tribune)
Eng, Monica. “FDA says stop feeding antibiotics to healthy animals for growth promotion.” Chicago Tribune. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Nov. 2012. <http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-11/features/chi-food-policy-fda-issue-new-guidelines-on-antibiotic-in-animals-20120411_1_growth-promotion-animal-health-institute-food-animal-production>.
“Fleming, Alexander.” Fleming, Alexander: 1-1. Britannica Online School Edition. Web. 1 Nov. 2012. <http://www.school.ebonline.com/comptons/article-9274340?query=alexander%20fleming&ct=null>.
Rosenberg, Jennifer. “Alexander Fleming Discovers Penicillin” ["Alexander Fleming Discovers Penicillin"]. About.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Nov. 2012. <http://history1900s.about.com/od/medicaladvancesissues/a/penicillin_2.htm>.
Zephyrus. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Nov. 2012. <http://www.zephyrus.co.uk/alexanderfleming.html>.