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Who discovered penicillin?

Find out which British bacteriologist discovered penicillin.

Penicillin is a bacteria with important medical properties. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
Penicillin is a bacteria with important medical properties.

British bacteriologist Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) discovered the bacteria-killing property of penicillin in 1928.

Fleming noticed that no bacteria grew around bits of the penicillium notatum fungus that accidentally fell into a bacterial culture in his laboratory. However, although penicillin was clinically used, it was not until 1941 that Dr. Howard Florey (1898-1968) purified and tested it.

The first large-scale plant to produce penicillin was constructed under the direction of Dr. Ernest Chain (1906-1979). By 1945, penicillin was commercially available. In that year, Chain, Florey, and Fleming received a joint Nobel Prize for their work on penicillin.

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