Sunday, June 4, 2023

Scientific feat of production of penicillin from world wars to the present

Alexander Fleming, a young Scottish physician, was terrified of dying from infected shrapnel wounds during World War I, so he decided to search for a new antiseptic and thus began the history of penicillin.

Alexander Fleming. Photo: Supplies

In the summer of 1928, a young Scottish physician, Alexander Fleming, noticed that staphylococci cultures had been contaminated with a fungus. Later, it was identified as Penicillium notatum, and the antibacterial substance secreted by it was given the name penicillin,

This discovery would not have been so important if many scientists had not worked to produce the new product with sufficient purity and scale to make way for the antibiotic we all know today.

First, in the laboratory of Howard Florey and Ernst Chen, the method of surface fermentation was proposed, initially in reused milk bottles and later in containers.

Animal studies and clinical testing were required to purify 500 liters of culture heat per week. This great work was done by a group of women, known as “girls”. penicillin“, who used to beat 2 pounds a week.

The first human trials were conducted in February 1941. Police officer Albert Alexander had scratched his mouth while cutting down some rose bushes and had developed an infection on his face and lungs. He recovered in a few days, but died as the supply of antibiotics ran out.

World War II halted further research in Europe, so English pharmaceutical companies submitted their results to the United States government. it was very important to produce enough penicillin For Allied forces, as the Germans already used sulfonamides.

Howard brought Florey samples penicillin To Andrew Moyer, a researcher at the Department of Agriculture in Illinois. In a few weeks they will be able to improve the process, mainly replacing surface cultivation with submerged fermentation.

In the United States, those with experience in submerged culture fermentation were Jasper Kane and John McCain, who worked at Pfizer, a major producer of citric acid in fermenters.

The war also prevented citrus from Italy, so a way to synthesize citric acid with microorganisms was devised. Over a period of 6 months, and despite the limitations of the war, Pfizer repaired a plant with 14 fermenters of 28,500 liters and produced production in 5 years, using increasingly larger reactors and improved technology. penicillin,

For this great achievement, Fleming, Florey and Chain received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1945. At the ceremony, Fleming himself warned of the danger of creating resistance to antibiotics due to indiscriminate use.

Crystallographer Dorothy Hodgkin received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry a few years later for determining the structure of several biomolecules, of which she was penicillin,

During the Normandy landings, 150,000 Allied troops landed in France. Everyone had a single dose in their medical kit penicillin To use if they were injured.

In this way Fleming’s dream was fulfilled in France also 25 years ago. penicillin It became a luxury product in war-torn Europe.

Unfortunately, some today underestimate Fleming’s discovery, which they attribute to coincidence.

Source consulted here

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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