Demonstrations of strong bactericidal substances in certain fungi have reopened an older field of botanic investigation, search for predictable bactericidal substances in the tissues of higher plants. Several antibiotics were reported by earlier botanists. Thus, Stickl1 showed that certain alkaloids extracted from the common celandine were bactericidal against both staphylococci and the anthrax bacillus. Jordanoff2 found that extracts of Capsicum annum would kill several plant pathogens. Valette and Liber3 showed that convolvulin is bactericidal for pneumococci. Antiseptic properties have also been reported for raw juices of cabbages, turnips and horse radish.4
Systematic search for antibacterial plant extractives was first undertaken in 1942 by Osborn5 of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, Oxford University. In this search 2,300 different angiosperms (flowering plants) were tested. Selected portions of each plant were ground up by pestle and mortar with sand in a sufficient amount of distilled water
PENICILLIN-LIKE SUBSTANCES IN HIGHER PLANTS. JAMA. 1945;127(9):522–523. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860090028010
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