Penicillin: A Paradigm for Biotechnology

Frank Martin frank at general.com.au
Sat May 19 18:54:35 EST 2001

EXACTLY! The Merck company in the USA pioneered the submerged-fermentation
process based on the new strain so making penicillin a practical drug.
It's all in the Florey biography. Inventors and developers seem to be
different species. That uppity little Scot didn't follow up his discovery,
and it was pure chance that Florey took the development up as a research
project. The WWII forced the English to seek American help for large scale

"Gordon Couger" <gcouger at REMOVE.provalue.net> wrote in message
news:AEqN6.437$9x.14773 at www.newsranger.com...
| In article <3B053C9D.674736A3 at hate.spam.net>, Uncle Al says...
| >
| >"R. I. Mateles" wrote:
| >>
| >> Penicillin: A Paradigm for Biotechnology
| >> Richard I. Mateles, Editor
| >[snip]
| >
| >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
| 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
| cantaloupe in the trash.
| Gordon
| Gordon Couger
| Stillwater OK

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