History and Discovery of Penicillin: Not many people know this but Flemming discovered two important antibiotic substances: one of course was penicillin, but the other was lysozyme. Flemming first came upon lysozyme's abilities when the mucus from his own nose inadvertently dropped onto a petri dish that had bacteria growing in it. He did not notice this at first but a few days later he saw that the bacteria
that had been growing there was killed. One of Flemming's problems was that he often failed to
get the word out about his discoveries and because of this his new discovery was pretty much overlooked.
Thanks to this initial discovery he was egged on to continue his research of antibiotic substances.
The way he discovered penicillin in September of 1928 was much like the way he did lysozyme,
by accident. He had a number of petri dishes set out in his lab and noticed that one of them
had a spot of mold growing which did not have any of the bacteria. What most people do not
know about Flemming is that he had a tendency to overlook and understate the usefulness of
discoveries. Flemming thought that penicillin could only be used as an
antiseptic for minor infections, not for the major infections it was later discovered to be useful in the treatment of major infections. If Flemming had conducted more extensive tests with penicillin he would have noticed this. Had Flemming conducted tests the true abilities of penicillin would have been known about 38 years in advance. The experiments that he did conduct showed that only the different
penicillium molds could produce the "mold juice." Flemming's first publication about penicillin
was in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology in 1929. In it he stated that it might
be useful in the treatment of infections. The full capabilities of penicillin were not officially
noticed until 1940 by the two British scientists Baron Florey and Ernst Boris Chain the
two men that he shared the Nobel Prize with. Because penicillin had no real immediate consequences
on his career Flemming stopped his work with penicillin and moved onto sulfa drugs.
In 1940 Chain and Florey conducted extensive clinical trials on penicillin after which Flemming
and his wonder drug gained much celebrity not only in the scientific world but also in the world
of the laymen. Penicillin really gained its fame during World War 11 where there was much need for a safe antibiotic
to treat common war infections like gangrene whick reeked havoc during Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by a Scottish Physician,
Alexander Fleming. Before this time people new little about germs and bacteria they would never wash out their wounds
or use what we consider proper cleanliness. But, Fleming noticed the conection between a dirty woundand it later becoming
infected. So, he started doing some work of his own. He placed bacteria and a subtance from which it could grow off
into a petri dish and covered it.