THE HISTORY of penicillin is essentially the story of two developments. The first was Fleming's accidental discovery of the inhibitive effect of Penicillium notatum on staphylocci in vitro.1 Clutterbuck, Lowell and Rainstrick, stimulated by Fleming's study, attempted to extract penicillin in 1932, but their efforts were largely unsuccessful.
Second, through the extraction method, involving the passing of impure acid penicillin broth from the watery solution into an organic solvent (ether or amyl acetate) and the subsequent passing of the purified agent again into water (shaken with alkali), Florey and his colleagues showed how to obtain sufficient penicillin in a relatively pure form and demonstrated its clinical use.2
METHOD OF ASSAY
As the exact constitution of penicillin has not yet been worked out, the material cannot be standardized by chemical means. However, the success of research largely depended on a reliable procedure for assay. The method adopted was worked
STEIN SH. TREATMENT OF CHRONIC BLEPHAROCONJUNCTIVITIS WITH PENICILLIN OINTMENT: Report of Twenty-Five Cases. Arch Ophthalmol. 1946;35(6):655–661. doi:10.1001/archopht.1946.00890200670005
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: