History of antibiotics | Antibiotics

History of antibiotics

Interestingly enough, this group of substances was discovered by chance. The bacteriologist Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) was experimenting with staphylococci in 1928, when a substance containing mould fungi fell into his culture. A short time later, he discovered that the area that had come into contact with the mould was free of the bacterium.

The mould later developed into the antibiotic penicillin. Other records describe that already 30 years before it was reported that fungi can kill bacteria. Fleming is still celebrated as the secret discoverer.


Antibiotics work in 3 ways: There are different groups of antibiotics with different mechanisms of action and areas of application. – bacteriostatic (the reproduction is prevented without killing them)

  • Bactericidal (bacteria are killed)
  • Bacteriolytic (the cell wall of the bacteria is dissolved)