Amazing Kids! Magazine

Did You Know?

By Isabella Taylor, Poetry Editor


Many amazing discoveries happen by chance!  In 1928, Scottish scientist named Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by luck. This happened one day when he did not clean up his work station before his vacation. At that time, he was studying the bacteria that causes food poisoning (staphylococcus). What he found when he returned from vacation is that a bluish green mold had grown on some of his cultures, stopping the growth of bacteria. This penicillin mold was further refined to treat humans.  Penicillin is able to destroy harmful bacteria that was once fatal, such as pneumonia and meningitis over even just infection from a scraped knee or a shaving cut.

Dr. Cecil Paine and Dr. Howard Florey did further medical testing with penicillin on the first human patient who had cut himself shaving but unfortunately they ran out of penicillin. The penicillin did indeed stop the infection but there was not enough and the patient died.  Penicillin worked well but it was difficult to produce enough of it until the cantaloupe story.  A penicillin fungi was found on a cantaloupe in a grocery store.  This penicillin fungi had 200 times the amount of penicillin, so scientists took this information and were able to produce a mutation that contained a whopping 1000 times more.

Today, penicillin has been saving lives as one of the most widely used antibiotics today.