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To the Editor:—
The antibiotic from red blood cells reported by Whitney, Anigstein and Micks (Proc. Soc. Exper. Biol. & Med.74:346, 1950) and commented on in The Journal, Dec. 2, 1950, almost certainly is haematin. In 1948 I found that a tryptic digest of red cells was inhibitory to a number of bacilli. The antibacterial substance was identified as haematin, and it was shown that a concentration of 1:1,000,000 would prevent an inoculum of Bacillus subtilis from growing. Most, but not all, aerobic sporing bacilli are completely inhibited by haematin at 1:20,000, but very few other organisms. I did not test antibacterial activity at concentrations higher than 1:20,000. In a preliminary note (Nature162:114, 1948) I reported that several bacilli, including Bacillus anthracis, were not inhibited by 1:20,000 haematin, but I have since found that this applies only when haematin is autoclaved in complex mediums. Under these
van Heyningen WE. HAEMATIN. JAMA. 1951;145(7):508. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920250060023
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