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Biotechnology - Penicillin

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What is biotechnology? Biotechnology is the use of technology to construct products or perform tasks through the use of biological systems and organisms.1Through history we have gained more knowledge of how biotechnology is applied and have refined and created new techniques that have benefited different areas, such as agriculture and gene technology. The application of fungal products has been in use for hundreds of years in the production of foods such as cheese and soy products. Penicillium mould (Penicillium chrysogenum2 ) contains the antibiotic substance penicillin, which was successfully isolated in 1945. Since Ancient times, moulds have been used to treat infection. Ernest Duchesne was a physician who discovered through experimentation, that Penicillium glaucum was able to destroy the bacteria, Escherichia coli. ...read more.


He hypothesised that the mould, Penicillium notatum, was inhibiting bacterial growth by releasing a certain substance, and was able to isolate that antibiotic substance, named penicillin, which affected Gram-positive pathogens such as diphtheria and meningitis.4 Unlike Duchesne's strain, this was unable to affect. Fleming published these results in a British Journal, which received little notice by the scientific community. Penicillin was highly unstable at both extremes of pH, and was hard to produce in large quantities. In 1938, Australian pathologist Howard Florey and his team of researchers tried to solve these flaws. The team had used penicillin on patients, but there was a problem in that a large amount of the mould was needed to treat patients.By trying to increase the yield, they found that P.notatum grew best in shallow containers with nutrients, and needed a lot of air. ...read more.


In New York, a process using deep fermentation tanks was discovered, which pumps air through the tanks. When corn steep liquor, a waste product of maize was used as fuel, the yield increased 12-20 times when used with the deep fermentation tanks.5 Since then, penicillin has spawned the production of many derivatives, such as ampicillin and augmentin. Antibiotics have then since come into general use, and the mortality rate of diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis have fallen drastically. Due to a series of scientific discoveries, the way infection has been fought and how medicine is practiced has taken an extreme change. 1 http://www.biotechnologyonline.gov.au/biotec/whatis.cfm 12/8/07 2 http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/Toms_fungi/nov2003.html 12/8/07 3 Zinzius J, History of the discovery of penicillin: Ernest Duchesne, Dtsch Med Wochenschr 4 http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/florey/story.htm 12/8/07 5. http://www.herbarium.usu.edu/fungi/FunFacts/penicillin.htm 14/8/07 ?? ?? ?? ?? Biotechnology in Practice 600-205 ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

I find this a slightly disappointing piece of work, because it seems to completely deviate from the title.

If the rubrik was to write a piece of work about the history of the use of penicillin and the student has just chosen an inappropriate title then this is a middle-of-the-road discussion of the history.

But if the title was given as "What is biotechnology" then this piece of work really doesn't answer it.

Without knowing that I'd have to give it 2/5 at my Russell Group university.

Marked by teacher Rebecca Lewis 24/09/2012

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