On September 28, 1928, Alexander Fleming came into work and discovered that he’d left the window open, changing the course of modern medicine.
The window had allowed some outside air to land in a stack of staphylococci cultures he’d been researching. A fungus had grown and, around that fungus, colonies of staphylococci had been destroyed. Meanwhile, colonies further away from the fungus were doing just fine. Fleming had discovered the effects of Penicillin, and inadvertently gave rise to the entire field of antibiotics. Antibiotics are humankind’s great hope against a lifeform that far outnumbers us: bacteria.
To celebrate this serendipitous discovery, we’re sharing great student work on the topic of mold, bacteria, and antibiotics.
From James Scott’s University of Toronto course, “Medical and Veterinary Mycology,” come two examples of student work: a plant fungus, and a mold that can infect animal and human tissue in the central nervous system.
Antibiotics kill bacteria. Thanks to students from Dr. Cameron Thrash’s Prokaryotic Diversity course at LSU, we can learn more about the other side. One student wrote about the Legionella jordanis bacteria, which is found in sewage and can cause respiratory problems. while another student developed an article on Streptobacillus moniliformis, a bacteria spread through contact with rats and linked to “rat-bite fever.”
Also from that course, we find an article about Parachlamydia acanthamoebae, a bacteria that has shown antibiotic resistance.
And, finally, a student shared information about a bacteria that produces antibiotics.
Thanks to Alexander Fleming for his accidental discovery of antibiotics, and to these students for sharing the knowledge that’s been made possible as a result of that discovery.
Photo: Penicilina, by Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil, CC BY 3.0 (br).