[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Other Articles
April 7, 1945


JAMA. 1945;127(14):922-923. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860140040010

In 1942 Wilkins and Harris1 of the Department of Botany, Oxford University, England, examined 100 species of fungi for the production of bacteriostatic or bactericidal substances, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa being used as test organisms. About 25 per cent of the Penicillium strains and 40 per cent of the Aspergillus strains yielded antibiotics. Aspergillus fumigatus yielded particularly active filtrates, apparently superior to the bacteriostatic substances produced by Penicillium. From aspergillus filtrates Chain and his associates2 of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, Oxford University, subsequently isolated a crystalline antibiotic, "helvolic acid," the name being derived from the variety of Aspergillus fumigatus yielding the best product.

This crystalline product is sufficiently stable to resist boiling for fifteen minutes. It inhibits the growth of gram positive organisms (including gas gangrene) in dilutions as high as 1:11,280,000. Its bacteriostatic power is not reduced by the presence of