Penicillin: A Paradigm for Biotechnology

Gordon Couger gcouger at REMOVE.provalue.net
Sat May 19 04:02:24 EST 2001

In article <3B053C9D.674736A3 at hate.spam.net>, Uncle Al says...
>"R. I. Mateles" wrote:
>> Penicillin: A Paradigm for Biotechnology
>> Richard I. Mateles, Editor
>The first large scale production of penicillin was done in a
>remarkably large number of British bedpans.  When they finally went to
>submerged culture in vats the quintessential breakthrough in
>controlled addition of phenylacetic acid to make penicllin-G without
>killing the mold was made by a janitor tired of smelling cat piss
>(phenylacetic acid) everywhere.
That janitor worked for the USDA if I remember right. The Brits couldn't get
very much production and brought it over to the USDA for help. If I remember the
story right the biggest single improvement was getting a new strain from a
cantaloupe in the trash.


Gordon Couger
Stillwater OK

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