Penicillin mold history & development
Penicillin mold history & development is elaborated below. Penicillin is a potent antibiotic effective against Gram-positive bacteria. The drug comes from the mold Penicillium , most often the species P. chrysogenum . The discovery of penicillin and a method to purify it earned Alexander Fleming , Ernst Chain and Howard Florey the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945. Modern purification and mass production of penicillin is quite complicated, but it is easy grow Penicillium mold and make penicillin at home.
How to grow penicillium mold
Chances are good that you have developed penicillium mold accidentally. It grows easily on bread and fruits. Fleming’s original culture grew on a cantaloupe. Many people prefer to leave oranges or lemons in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator until the mold grows. You can also moisten the bread, seal it in a plastic bag and wait for the mold. However, if you use bread, use a homemade version because most packaged breads contain an antifungal agent that can interfere with your efforts.
Penicillium contre Aspergillus
Once you have bread or moldy product, you must identify Penicillium . There are actually several species of Penicillium . All do not produce penicillin. Some are used to add flavor to cheese and sausage and prevent spoilage. There are also other types of molds that look like Penicillium .
A Penicillium colony starts gray or white, turns blue, and turns blue-green. It usually develops a white outer ring (which you will not see if the mold completely exceeds your specimen).
A type of mold that looks like Penicillium is Aspergillus . The species of Aspergillus can be green, gray or black. Some strains of Aspergillus have commercial value, such as sake fermentation and citric acid production. However, others cause disease or produce lethal toxins, such as aflatoxin . You do not want to accidentally cleanse one of these!
How do you differentiate Penicillium and Aspergillus ? If you see two crops side by side, Aspergillus seems more fuzzy than Penicillium. The penicillium is more blue. Depending on the stage of growth, appearance alone may not be enough.
The best way to identify Penicillium is to see it under magnification. Penicillium is branched, like a fan. Aspergillus is straight, like a long stem with a fuzzy ball at the end.
Get penicillin from mold
The ancient Egyptians simply took moldy bread and applied it on a wound like an antibiotic. However, they also made eyeliner out of toxic antimony and lead . You can do better.
You can grow a relatively pure Penicillium mold that grows on bread or fruit.
- Sterilize a container and lid using a pressure cooker or by baking in a 315 ° F oven for one hour.
- Sterilize (as much as possible) fresh growth media for the mold. For example, you can boil an intact lemon, bake wet bread or disinfect fruit with alcohol.
- Add the bread or fruit into the container, place a piece of mold on the surface and close the pot. Nothing will be really sterile, but mold will have the advantage and should compete with other microorganisms.
- Allow a few days for the mold to grow. Keep the crop out of direct sunlight. Penicillium produces penicillin when the colony matures and is stressed. The mold is most useful when it reaches the blue-green stage.
Should you purify penicillin?
Now you have a Penicillium culture . What are you doing with it?
You can extract penicillin. One way is to add a weak acid (citric acid, cream of tartar, vitamin C) and water in the mold, mix it, filter it through a coffee filter and collect the liquid. The liquid contains diluted penicillin.
Still, you do not really need to purify penicillin. The mold itself is not toxic *, so further purification does not affect efficiency.
If you opt for purification, you can:
- Just eat the mold. Yum!
- Make a tea by mixing some bread or moldy fruits in the hot water.
- Make lemon curd (if you use moldy lemons).
- Make an antibiotic dressing by putting some of the mold of this culture in a nutritious broth. Add the dressing and let the mildew grow to apply to a wound.
* Some people are allergic to mold. Some Penicillium strains produce mycotoxins, neurotoxins or carcinogens . Although mold itself is not a problem, the compounds it releases can be dangerous or not.
Alternatives to penicillin manufacture
Taking penicillin home is risky. There is a good chance that a do-it-yourself version will be ineffective or aggravate a bad situation. In a dire situation, safer natural antibiotics include garlic, oregano oil and honey.
In the event of a real emergency, without a doctor or prescription in sight, you’d better try your luck with penicillin for fish, which you will find in the aquarium section of a pet shop. Still, it is good to know where penicillin comes from and how to do it. Do not try your homemade concoction unless the civilization ends.
What you can do is test penicillin on bacteria. This is an excellent project for biology in high school or college microbiology. Culture bacteria on a plate (a tampon from your mouth is a good source of Gram-positive bacteria) and add a drop of penicillin to the plate. If penicillin works, the bacteria will die in the affected circle. Be aware that bacterial death is not proof that you have isolated penicillin. Molds also produce other antibiotics .
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