In September 1928, British bacteriologist Alexander Fleming found something unusual growing in his laboratory. Mold had contaminated a plate of Staphylococci, disease-causing bacteria. Where the mold had spread, the bacteria had disappeared.
Further research revealed that the mold, Penicillium notatum, produced a substance harmful to microorganisms but relatively nontoxic to animals and humans. During World War II, British and American scientists expanded on Fleming's discovery to develop the powerful antibiotic penicillin.
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