• John Jewkes
  • David Sawers
  • Richard Stillerman


Streptomycin, a useful antibiotic, is derived from a microbe found among a family of filamentous bacteria called actinomycetes, which have been shown to be extremely active against other organisms. Lieske demonstrated in 1921 that certain actinomycetes destroy some bacteria and inhibit the growth of others; Gratia, Dath and Rosenthal showed in 1925 that cultures of actinomycetes, which were designated as Streptothrix, can dissolve both living and dead bacterial cells. Nakhi-movakaia and other Russian investigators examined the actinomycetes in the soil for their bacteria-killing properties in 1937.


Filamentous Bacterium Nickel Steel Streptomyces Griseus Chromium Nickel Chromium Nickel Steel 
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  1. 1.
    Major, R. T., ‘Cooperation of Science and Industry in the Development of the Antibiotics’, Chemical and Engineering News, Oct. 25, 1948.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Waksman, Selman A., ‘Streptomycin: Background, Isolation, Properties and Utilization’, Science, Sept. 4, 1953.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Antibiotics, Oxford Medical Publication, 1949. H. W. Florey, Historical Introduction.Google Scholar

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© John Jewkes, David Sawers and Richard Stillerman 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Jewkes
  • David Sawers
  • Richard Stillerman

There are no affiliations available

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