Semi-Synthetic Penicillins

  • John Jewkes
  • David Sawers
  • Richard Stillerman


The early penicillins, despite their great value, had serious limitations. Penicillin G, to be effective, had to be injected and had virtually no effect on gram-negative bacilli. The later Penicillin V could be given orally but constituted no advance in controlling a wider range of infections. In the meantime, a penicillin-resistant organism, Staphylococcus aureus, was causing widespread infection, especially in the confined quarters of hospitals. Efforts to overcome these problems were made in many directions. Some scientists, especially J. C. Sheehan in the United States, worked on the synthesis of penicillin.1 Others, such as E. B. Chain, believing that many details of the mechanism of biosynthesis of the penicillin molecule remained unsolved, continued their studies of penicillin fermentation. The more important of the American firms producing antibiotics, with their large research laboratories, had largely abandoned research on penicillin fermentation in favour of a search for new antibiotics.


Penicillanic Acid American Firm Penicillin Fermentation Rotary Piston Proceeding Royal Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Beecham Group, documents, correspondence and discussion.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    E. B. Chain, correspondence and discussion.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    H. Raistrick, correspondence.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Batchelor, F. R., Doyle, F. P., Naylor, J. H. C., and Rolinson, G. N., Nature, 183 (1959).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ballio, A., Chain, E. B., Dentrice di Accadia, F., Rolinson, G. N., and Batchelor, F. R., Nature, 183 (1959); 187 (1960); and 195 (1962).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Reports on the Progress of Applied Chemistry, Society of Chemical Industry, 1959–65.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Proceedings Royal Society, Series B, 1961.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chain, E. B., ‘The New Penicillins’ from New Perspectives in Biology, B.B.A. Library, vol. 4 (Elsevier Publishing Co., 1964).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Jewkes, David Sawers and Richard Stillerman 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Jewkes
  • David Sawers
  • Richard Stillerman

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations