Navigation Links
Alexander Fleming


Alexander Fleming

Sir Alexander Fleming (August 6, 1881March 11, 1955) discovered the antibiotic substance lysozyme and isolated the antibiotic substance penicillin from the fungus Penicillium notatum.

Biography

Fleming was born on a farm at Lochfield in Ayrshire, Scotland and was schooled for two years at the Academy in Kilmarnock. He later attended St Mary's Hospital medical school in London until World War I broke out. He participated in a battlefield hospital with many of his colleagues in the fronts of France. Being exposed to the horrific medical infections by the dying soldiers, he returned to St. Mary's after the war with renewed energy in searching for an improved antiseptic.

Both of Fleming's discoveries happened entirely by accident during the 1920s. The first, lysozyme, was discovered after mucus from his nose dropped into a bacterium laced Petri dish (he sneezed). A few days later, it was noted that bacteria where the mucus had fallen had been destroyed.

Fleming's labs were usually in disarray, which led to be to his advantage. In September 1928, he was sorting through the many idle experiments strewn about his lab. He inspected each specimen before discarding it and noticed an interesting fungal colony had grown as a contaminant on one of the agar plates streaked with the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. Fleming inspected the Petri dish further and found that the bacterial colonies around the fungus were transparent because their cells were lysing. Lysis is the breakdown of cells, and in this case, potentially harmful bacteria. The importance was immediately recognized, however the discovery was still underestimated. Fleming issued a publication about penicillin in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology in 1929.

Fleming worked with the mould for some time, but refining and growing it was a difficult process better suited to chemists. In part by believing its effect may only hold valid with small infections and further by not being well received within the community, the drug was not developed for mass distribution until World War II when Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain developed a method of purifying penicillin to a form that was useful for medical treatment of infection.

For his achievements, Fleming was knighted in 1944 and shared the Nobel prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Florey and Ernst Boris Chain. Florey was later given the higher honour of a peerage for his monumental work in making penicillin available to the public and saving millions of lives in World War II. Florey's work proceeded over the misgivings of Fleming, who believed that penicillin, for all its intrinsic worth, would not be able to be produced in sufficient quantities to have an appreciable effect in a war situation.

Fleming was long a member of the Chelsea Arts Club, a private club for artists of all genres, founded in 1891 at the suggestion of the painter James McNeil Whistler. Fleming was admitted to the club after he made "germ paintings," in which he drew with a culture loop using spores of highly pigmented bacteria. The bacteria were invisible while he painted, but when cultured made bright colours.

Serratia marcescens - red
Chromobacterium violaceum - purple
Micrococcus luteus - yellow
Micrococcus varians - white
Micrococcus roseus - pink
Bacillus sp. - orange

Fleming died in 1955 of a heart attack. He was buried as a national hero in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. His discovery of penicillin had changed the world of modern medicines by introducing the age of useful antibiotics.

External link


'"/>


(Date:10/22/2014)... Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE ), a ... results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2014. ... million, an increase of 40% compared to $4.3 million in ... quarter of 2014 was $4.1 million compared to $1.0 million ... the current three month period was primarily due to: i) ...
(Date:10/18/2014)... suspected genetic conditions, a certain type of exome sequencing ... than traditional molecular diagnostic methods, according to a study ... released to coincide with the American Society of Human ... protein­coding region of the genome (the complete set of ... organism), has been rapidly applied in research settings and ...
(Date:10/17/2014)... is available in German . ... very few drugs. When treating overdoses, doctors are often limited ... difficult if there is a combination of drugs involved. So ... accidentally swallows his grandmother,s pills? ETH professor Jean-Christophe Leroux from ... find an answer to this question. "The task was to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Aware, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results 2Aware, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results 3Aware, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results 4Aware, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results 5Aware, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results 6Aware, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results 7Study examines type of exome sequencing and molecular diagnostic yield 2Study examines type of exome sequencing and molecular diagnostic yield 3Emergency aid for overdoses 2Emergency aid for overdoses 3
... This news release is available in French . ... by inducing lesions in the DNA of tumour cells in order ... these lesions, and thus reduces the efficacy of chemotherapy. Blocking the ... the resistance of cells to treatment. A team of researchers directed ...
... orchestrated by a spectrum of signals from hormones within ... cytokinins originate in the roots of plants, and their ... leaves stimulates plant development. Though these phytohormones have been ... their transportation within plants was previously poorly understood. ...
... for fresh fruits and vegetables are associated with higher ... and middle-income households, according to American University researchers in ... small, but significant, association between the prices of fruit ... the study,s lead author and assistant professor of public ...
Cached Biology News:Enhancement of chemotherapy by prevention of tumor cell repair 2Roots to shoots: Hormone transport in plants deciphered 2High cost of fruits, vegetables linked to higher body fat in young children 2
Other biology definitionOther Tags