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.
KeywordsPenicillanic Acid American Firm Penicillin Fermentation Rotary Piston Proceeding Royal Society
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