Sample of Original Penicillin

Sample of Original Penicillin

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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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Penicillin, Mold, Fleming's
penicillin mold
Other Terms
Penicillin, Mold, Fleming's; Antibiotics; Biologicals; Drugs; Non-Liquid
date made
ca 1940s
Fleming, Alexander
Fleming, Alexander
Physical Description
Penicillium notatum (overall material)
overall: 1/2 in x 2 in; x 1.27 cm x 5.08 cm
overall: 3/8 in x 2 in; x.9525 cm x 5.08 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Sir Alexander Fleming
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
National Treasures exhibit
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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