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Penicillin under a Microscope

Penicillin under a Microscope STEM World History Medicine Famous Historical Events

As Alexander Fleming studied some mold, which had been growing in his lab petri dish, he saw something interesting. The area around the mold ring seemed to be free of bacteria.

Fleming realized that the mold was from the genus "Penicillium," which had first been described in 1809 by Johann Heinrich Friedrich Link (in Observationes in ordines plantarum naturales).  

That name—penicillium—was selected because the fungus, under a microscope, resembles a painter's brush.  The Latin word for "painter’s brush" is penicillium.

In this image, we see a staining of penicillium as it appears under a microscope on the 5th of May in 2004. It does resemble a painter’s brush, doesn’t it?

Click on the image for a better view.


Media Credits

Image, described above, by Peter Halasz; online via Wikimedia Commons.  License: CC BY SA 2.5

 

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