penicillin

This is the full read-only archive of the "Ask the Wordwizard" section of the original Wordwizard site. The responses to the questions originate from Jonathon Green, the compiler of the Cassell Dictionary of Slang and numerous other dictionaries.
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penicillin

Post by Archived Topic » Wed Feb 17, 1999 12:00 am

what is the origin of the word penicillan? Thanks!
Submitted by lynn wolfe (Plano - U.S.A.)
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penicillin

Post by Jonathon Green » Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am

The antibiotic agent obtained from cultures of the mould Penicillium notatum ( a genus of ascetomycetous fungi, including several of the common moulds); hence, any of a group of antibiotics that are all derivatives of 6-amino-penicillanic acid in which a radical replaces one of the amino hydrogen atoms, some being acids produced naturally by the growth of various moulds of the genera Penicillium and Aspergillus, whilst others are acids, salts, or esters prepared synthetically from these; they are active against many kinds of bacteria but virtually harmless to persons not allergic to them
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