Penicillin core structure, where "R" is the variable group
|Intravenous, intramuscular, by mouth|
|Biological half-life||between 0.5 and 56 hours|
|Molar mass||243.26 g·mol−1|
Penicillin (PCN or pen) is a group of antibiotics which include penicillin G (intravenous use), penicillin V (oral use), procaine penicillin, and benzathine penicillin (intramuscular use). Penicillin antibiotics were among the first medications to be effective against many bacterial infections caused by staphylococci and streptococci. Penicillins are still widely used today, though many types of bacteria have developed resistance following extensive use.
About 10% of people report that they are allergic to penicillin; however, up to 90% of this group may not actually be allergic. Serious allergies only occur in about 0.03%. All penicillins are β-lactam antibiotics.
Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming. People began using it to treat infections in 1942. There are several enhanced penicillin families which are effective against additional bacteria; these include the antistaphylococcal penicillins, aminopenicillins and the antipseudomonal penicillins. They are derived from Penicillium fungi.
- 1 Medical uses
- 2 Adverse effects
- 3 Mechanism of action
- 4 Structure
- 5 History
- 6 Production
- 7 Members
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The term "penicillin" is often used generically to refer to benzylpenicillin (penicillin G, the original penicillin found in 1928), procaine benzylpenicillin (procaine penicillin), benzathine benzylpenicillin (benzathine penicillin), and phenoxymethylpenicillin (penicillin V). Procaine penicillin and benzathine penicillin have the same antibacterial activity as benzylpenicillin but act for a longer period of time. Phenoxymethylpenicillin is less active against gram-negative bacteria than benzylpenicillin. Benzylpenicillin, procaine penicillin and benzathine penicillin are given by injection (parenterally), but phenoxymethylpenicillin is given orally.
While the number of penicillin-resistant bacteria is increasing, penicillin can still be used to treat a wide range of infections caused by certain susceptible bacteria, including Streptococci, Staphylococci, Clostridium, and Listeria genera. The following list illustrates minimum inhibitory concentration susceptibility data for a few medically significant bacteria:
- Listeria monocytogenes: from less than or equal to 0.06 μg/ml to 0.25 μg/ml
- Neisseria meningitidis: from less than or equal to 0.03 μg/ml to 0.5 μg/ml
- Staphylococcus aureus: from less than or equal to 0.015 μg/ml to more than 32 μg/ml
Common adverse drug reactions (≥ 1% of people) associated with use of the penicillins include diarrhoea, hypersensitivity, nausea, rash, neurotoxicity, urticaria, and superinfection (including candidiasis). Infrequent adverse effects (0.1–1% of people) include fever, vomiting, erythema, dermatitis, angioedema, seizures (especially in people with epilepsy), and pseudomembranous colitis.
Pain and inflammation at the injection site is also common for parenterally administered benzathine benzylpenicillin, benzylpenicillin, and, to a lesser extent, procaine benzylpenicillin.
Although penicillin is still the most commonly reported allergy, less than 20% of people who believe that they have a penicillin allergy are truly allergic to penicillin; nevertheless, penicillin is still the most common cause of severe allergic drug reactions. Significantly, there is an immunologic reaction to Streptolysin S, a toxin released by certain killed bacteria and associated with Penicillin injection, that can cause fatal cardiac syncope.
Allergic reactions to any β-lactam antibiotic may occur in up to 1% of patients receiving that agent. The allergic reaction is a Type I hypersensitivity reaction. Anaphylaxis will occur in approximately 0.01% of patients. It has previously been accepted that there was up to a 10% cross-sensitivity between penicillin-derivatives, cephalosporins, and carbapenems, due to the sharing of the β-lactam ring. Assessments in 2006 found no more risk for cross-allergy for second-generation or later cephalosporins than the first generation. However, as a general risk, research shows that all beta lactams have the intrinsic hazard of very serious hazardous reactions in susceptible patients. Only the frequency of these reactions vary, based on the structure.
Papers in 2006 showed that a major feature in determining frequency of immunological reactions is the similarity of the side chains (e.g., first generation cephalosporins are similar to penicillins); this is why the β-lactams are associated with different frequencies of serious reactions (e.g., anaphylaxis).
Mechanism of action
Bacteria constantly remodel their peptidoglycan cell walls, simultaneously building and breaking down portions of the cell wall as they grow and divide. β-Lactam antibiotics inhibit the formation of peptidoglycan cross-links in the bacterial cell wall; this is achieved through binding of the four-membered β-lactam ring of penicillin to the enzyme DD-transpeptidase. As a consequence, DD-transpeptidase cannot catalyze formation of these cross-links, and an imbalance between cell wall production and degradation develops, causing the cell to rapidly die.
The enzymes that hydrolyze the peptidoglycan cross-links continue to function, even while those that form such cross-links do not. This weakens the cell wall of the bacterium, and osmotic pressure becomes increasingly uncompensated—eventually causing cell death (cytolysis). In addition, the build-up of peptidoglycan precursors triggers the activation of bacterial cell wall hydrolases and autolysins, which further digest the cell wall's peptidoglycans. The small size of the penicillins increases their potency, by allowing them to penetrate the entire depth of the cell wall. This is in contrast to the glycopeptide antibiotics vancomycin and teicoplanin, which are both much larger than the penicillins.
Gram-positive bacteria are called protoplasts when they lose their cell walls. Gram-negative bacteria do not lose their cell walls completely and are called spheroplasts after treatment with penicillin.
Penicillin shows a synergistic effect with aminoglycosides, since the inhibition of peptidoglycan synthesis allows aminoglycosides to penetrate the bacterial cell wall more easily, allowing their disruption of bacterial protein synthesis within the cell. This results in a lowered MBC for susceptible organisms.
Penicillins, like other β-lactam antibiotics, block not only the division of bacteria, including cyanobacteria, but also the division of cyanelles, the photosynthetic organelles of the glaucophytes, and the division of chloroplasts of bryophytes. In contrast, they have no effect on the plastids of the highly developed vascular plants. This supports the endosymbiotic theory of the evolution of plastid division in land plants.
The chemical structure of penicillin is triggered with a very precise, pH-dependent directed mechanism, effected by a unique spatial assembly of molecular components, which can activate by protonation. It can travel through bodily fluids, targeting and inactivating enzymes responsible for cell-wall synthesis in gram-positive bacteria, meanwhile avoiding the surrounding non-targets. Penicillin can protect itself from spontaneous hydrolysis in the body in its anionic form, while storing its potential as a strong acylating agent, activated only upon approach to the target transpeptidase enzyme and protonated in the active centre. This targeted protonation neutralizes the carboxylic acid moiety, which is weakening of the β-lactam ring N–C(=O) bond, resulting in a self-activation. Specific structural requirements are equated to constructing the perfect mouse trap for catching targeted prey.
The term "penam" is used to describe the common core skeleton of a member of the penicillins. This core has the molecular formula R-C9H11N2O4S, where R is the variable side chain that differentiates the penicillins from one another. The penam core has a molecular weight of 243 g/mol, with larger penicillins having molecular weights near 450—for example, cloxacillin has a molecular weight of 436 g/mol. The key structural feature of the penicillins is the four-membered β-lactam ring; this structural moiety is essential for penicillin's antibacterial activity. The β-lactam ring is itself fused to a five-membered thiazolidine ring. The fusion of these two rings causes the β-lactam ring to be more reactive than monocyclic β-lactams because the two fused rings distort the β-lactam amide bond and therefore remove the resonance stabilisation normally found in these chemical bonds.
In 1897 a French physician, Ernest Duchesne at École du Service de Santé Militaire in Lyon, published a medical thesis entitled Contribution à l'étude de la concurrence vitale chez les micro-organismes : antagonisme entre les moisissures et les microbes (Contribution to the study of the vital competition in micro-organisms: antagonism between molds and microbes) in which he specifically studied the interaction between Escherichia coli and Penicillium glaucum. He independently discovered healing properties of P. glaucum, even curing infected guinea pigs from typhoid. It is not known, however, whether the active chemical in these studies was in fact penicillin. E. coli and the causative agent of typhoid are both Gram-negative bacteria and are therefore significantly less susceptible to penicillin than other, Gram-positive, bacteria. In 1895, Italian physician Vincenzo Tiberio from the University of Naples published a study of molds that he found in a well near his house in Arzano, Italy ; he showed that certain molds — among them Penicillium glaucum — produce water-soluble substances that kill bacteria.
The discovery of penicillin is attributed to Scottish scientist and Nobel laureate Alexander Fleming in 1928. He showed that, if Penicillium rubens were grown in the appropriate substrate, it would exude a substance with antibiotic properties, which he dubbed penicillin. This serendipitous observation began the modern era of antibiotic discovery. The development of penicillin for use as a medicine is attributed to the Australian Nobel laureate Howard Walter Florey, together with the German Nobel laureate Ernst Chain and the English biochemist Norman Heatley.
Fleming recounted that the date of his discovery of penicillin was on the morning of Friday, September 28, 1928. The traditional version of this story describes the discovery as a fortuitous accident: in his laboratory in the basement of St Mary's Hospital in London (now part of Imperial College), Fleming noticed a Petri dish containing Staphylococcus that had been mistakenly left open, was contaminated by blue-green mould from an open window, which formed a visible growth. There was a halo of inhibited bacterial growth around the mould. Fleming concluded that the mould released a substance that repressed the growth and caused lysing of the bacteria.
Once Fleming made his discovery he grew a pure culture and discovered it was a Penicillium mould, now known to be Penicillium notatum. Fleming coined the term "penicillin" to describe the filtrate of a broth culture of the Penicillium mould. Fleming asked C. J. La Touche to help identify the mould, which he incorrectly identified as Penicillium rubrum (later corrected by Charles Thom). He expressed initial optimism that penicillin would be a useful disinfectant, because of its high potency and minimal toxicity in comparison to antiseptics of the day, and noted its laboratory value in the isolation of Bacillus influenzae (now called Haemophilus influenzae).
Fleming was a famously poor communicator and orator, which meant his findings were not initially given much attention. He was unable to convince a true chemist to help him extract and stabilize the antibacterial compound found in the broth filtrate. Despite the lack of a true chemist, he remained interested in the potential use of penicillin and presented a paper entitled "A Medium for the Isolation of Pfeiffer's Bacillus" to the Medical Research Club of London, which was met with little interest and even less enthusiasm by his peers. Had Fleming been more successful at making other scientists interested in his work, penicillin for medicinal use would possibly have been developed years earlier.
Despite the lack of interest of his fellow scientists, he did conduct several experiments on the antibiotic substance he discovered. The most important result proved it was nontoxic in humans by first performing toxicity tests in animals and then on humans. His following experiments on penicillin's response to heat and pH allowed Fleming to increase the stability of the compound. The one test that modern scientists would find missing from his work was the test of penicillin on an infected animal, the results of which would likely have sparked great interest in penicillin and sped its development by almost a decade.
In 1930, Cecil George Paine, a pathologist at the Royal Infirmary in Sheffield, attempted to use penicillin to treat sycosis barbae, eruptions in beard follicles, but was unsuccessful. Moving on to ophthalmia neonatorum, a gonococcal infection in infants, he achieved the first recorded cure with penicillin, on November 25, 1930. He then cured four additional patients (one adult and three infants) of eye infections, and failed to cure a fifth.
In 1939, Australian scientist Howard Florey (later Baron Florey) and a team of researchers (Ernst Boris Chain, Arthur Duncan Gardner, Norman Heatley, M. Jennings, J. Orr-Ewing and G. Sanders) at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford made progress in showing the in vivo bactericidal action of penicillin. In 1940 they showed that penicillin effectively cured bacterial infection in mice. In 1941 they treated a policeman, Albert Alexander, with a severe face infection; his condition improved, but then supplies of penicillin ran out and he died. Subsequently, several other patients were treated successfully.
By late 1940, the Oxford team under Howard Florey had devised a method of mass-producing the drug, but yields remained low. In 1941, Florey and Heatley traveled to the U.S. in order to interest pharmaceutical companies in producing the drug and inform them about their process.
Florey and Chain shared the 1945 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Fleming for their work.
The challenge of mass-producing this drug was daunting. On March 14, 1942, the first patient was treated for streptococcal septicemia with US-made penicillin produced by Merck & Co. Half of the total supply produced at the time was used on that one patient. By June 1942, just enough US penicillin was available to treat ten patients. In July 1943, the War Production Board drew up a plan for the mass distribution of penicillin stocks to Allied troops fighting in Europe. The results of fermentation research on corn steep liquor at the Northern Regional Research Laboratory at Peoria, Illinois, allowed the United States to produce 2.3 million doses in time for the invasion of Normandy in the spring of 1944. After a worldwide search in 1943, a mouldy cantaloupe in a Peoria, Illinois market was found to contain the best strain of mould for production using the corn steep liquor process. Large-scale production resulted from the development of deep-tank fermentation by chemical engineer Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau. As a direct result of the war and the War Production Board, by June 1945, over 646 billion units per year were being produced.
G. Raymond Rettew made a significant contribution to the American war effort by his techniques to produce commercial quantities of penicillin. During World War II, penicillin made a major difference in the number of deaths and amputations caused by infected wounds among Allied forces, saving an estimated 12%–15% of lives. Availability was severely limited, however, by the difficulty of manufacturing large quantities of penicillin and by the rapid renal clearance of the drug, necessitating frequent dosing. Methods for mass production of penicillin were patented by Andrew Jackson Moyer in 1945. Florey had not patented penicillin, having been advised by Sir Henry Dale that doing so would be unethical.
Penicillin is actively excreted, and about 80% of a penicillin dose is cleared from the body within three to four hours of administration. Indeed, during the early penicillin era, the drug was so scarce and so highly valued that it became common to collect the urine from patients being treated, so that the penicillin in the urine could be isolated and reused. This was not a satisfactory solution, so researchers looked for a way to slow penicillin excretion. They hoped to find a molecule that could compete with penicillin for the organic acid transporter responsible for excretion, such that the transporter would preferentially excrete the competing molecule and the penicillin would be retained. The uricosuric agent probenecid proved to be suitable. When probenecid and penicillin are administered together, probenecid competitively inhibits the excretion of penicillin, increasing penicillin's concentration and prolonging its activity. Eventually, the advent of mass-production techniques and semi-synthetic penicillins resolved the supply issues, so this use of probenecid declined. Probenecid is still useful, however, for certain infections requiring particularly high concentrations of penicillins.
After World War II, Australia was the first country to make the drug available for civilian use. In the U.S., penicillin was made available to the general public on March 15, 1945.
Structure determination and total synthesis
In 1945 the chemical structure of penicillin was determined using X-ray crystallography by Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, who was also working at Oxford. She later received the Nobel prize for this and other structure determinations.
Chemist John C. Sheehan at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) completed the first chemical synthesis of penicillin in 1957. Sheehan had started his studies into penicillin synthesis in 1948, and during these investigations developed new methods for the synthesis of peptides, as well as new protecting groups—groups that mask the reactivity of certain functional groups. Although the initial synthesis developed by Sheehan was not appropriate for mass production of penicillins, one of the intermediate compounds in Sheehan's synthesis was 6-aminopenicillanic acid (6-APA), the nucleus of penicillin.[page needed] Attaching different groups to the 6-APA 'nucleus' of penicillin allowed the creation of new forms of penicillin.
Developments from penicillin
The narrow range of treatable diseases or "spectrum of activity" of the penicillins, along with the poor activity of the orally active phenoxymethylpenicillin, led to the search for derivatives of penicillin that could treat a wider range of infections. The isolation of 6-APA, the nucleus of penicillin, allowed for the preparation of semisynthetic penicillins, with various improvements over benzylpenicillin (bioavailability, spectrum, stability, tolerance).
The first major development was ampicillin in 1961. It offered a broader spectrum of activity than either of the original penicillins. Further development yielded β-lactamase-resistant penicillins, including flucloxacillin, dicloxacillin, and methicillin. These were significant for their activity against β-lactamase-producing bacterial species, but were ineffective against the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains that subsequently emerged.
Another development of the line of true penicillins was the antipseudomonal penicillins, such as carbenicillin, ticarcillin, and piperacillin, useful for their activity against Gram-negative bacteria. However, the usefulness of the β-lactam ring was such that related antibiotics, including the mecillinams, the carbapenems and, most important, the cephalosporins, still retain it at the center of their structures.
Penicillin is a secondary metabolite of certain species of Penicillium and is produced when growth of the fungus is inhibited by stress. It is not produced during active growth. Production is also limited by feedback in the synthesis pathway of penicillin.
The by-product, l-lysine, inhibits the production of homocitrate, so the presence of exogenous lysine should be avoided in penicillin production.
The Penicillium cells are grown using a technique called fed-batch culture, in which the cells are constantly subject to stress, which is required for induction of penicillin production. The available carbon sources are also important: Glucose inhibits penicillin production, whereas lactose does not. The pH and the levels of nitrogen, lysine, phosphate, and oxygen of the batches must also be carefully controlled.
The biotechnological method of directed evolution has been applied to produce by mutation a large number of Penicillium strains. These techniques include error-prone PCR, DNA shuffling, ITCHY, and strand-overlap PCR.
Semisynthetic penicillins are prepared starting from the penicillin nucleus 6-APA.
Overall, there are three main and important steps to the biosynthesis of penicillin G (benzylpenicillin).
- The first step is the condensation of three amino acids—L-α-aminoadipic acid, L-cysteine, L-valine into a tripeptide. Before condensing into the tripeptide, the amino acid L-valine must undergo epimerization to become D-valine. The condensed tripeptide is named δ-(L-α-aminoadipyl)-L-cysteine-D-valine (ACV). The condensation reaction and epimerization are both catalyzed by the enzyme δ-(L-α-aminoadipyl)-L-cysteine-D-valine synthetase (ACVS), a nonribosomal peptide synthetase or NRPS.
- The second step in the biosynthesis of penicillin G is the oxidative conversion of linear ACV into the bicyclic intermediate isopenicillin N by isopenicillin N synthase (IPNS), which is encoded by the gene pcbC. Isopenicillin N is a very weak intermediate, because it does not show strong antibiotic activity.
- The final step is a transamidation by isopenicillin N N-acyltransferase, in which the α-aminoadipyl side-chain of isopenicillin N is removed and exchanged for a phenylacetyl side-chain. This reaction is encoded by the gene penDE, which is unique in the process of obtaining penicillins.
- Walling, Anne D. (September 15, 2006). "Tips from Other Journals – Antibiotic Use During Pregnancy and Lactation". American Family Physician. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
- Gonzalez-Estrada, A; Radojicic, C (May 2015). "Penicillin allergy: A practical guide for clinicians". Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine 82 (5): 295–300. doi:10.3949/ccjm.82a.14111. PMID 25973877.
- "Discovery and Development of Penicillin". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
- Oxford Handbook of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology. OUP Oxford. 2009. p. 56. ISBN 9780191039621.
- Penicillin at the Free Dictionary
- Garrod, L. P. (1960). "Relative Antibacterial Activity of Three Penicillins". British Medical Journal 1 (5172): 527–29. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.5172.527.
- Garrod, L. P. (1960). "The Relative Antibacterial Activity of Four Penicillins". British Medical Journal 2 (5214): 1695–6. doi:10.1136/bmj.2.5214.1695. PMC 2098302. PMID 13703756.
- "Penicillin (Benzylpenicillin, Penicillin G, Bicillin C-R/L-A, Pfizerpen, Wycellin)". The Antimicrobial Index. Knowledgebase. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- "Penicillin G sodium salt Susceptibilty and Resistance Data" (PDF). TOKU-E. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- Rossi S, editor, ed. (2006). Australian Medicines Handbook. Adelaide: Australian Medicines Handbook. ISBN 0-9757919-2-3.
- Salkind AR, Cuddy PG, Foxworth JW (2001). "Is this patient allergic to penicillin? (. An evidence-based analysis of the likelihood of penicillin allergy". JAMA 285 (19): 2498–505. doi:10.1001/jama.285.19.2498. PMID 11368703.
- B. N. Halpern; S. Rahman (1968). "Studies on the Cardiotoxicity of Streptolysin O". Br. J. Pharmac. Chemother. 32 (3): 441–52. PMC 1570333. PMID 5641942.
- Solensky R (2003). "Hypersensitivity reactions to beta-lactam antibiotics". Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology 24 (3): 201–20. doi:10.1385/CRIAI:24:3:201. PMID 12721392.
- Dash CH (1975). "Penicillin allergy and the cephalosporins". J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 1 (3 Suppl): 107–18. doi:10.1093/jac/1.suppl_3.107. PMID 1201975.
- Gruchalla RS, Pirmohamed M (2006). "Clinical practice. Antibiotic allergy". N. Engl. J. Med. 354 (6): 601–9. doi:10.1056/NEJMcp043986. PMID 16467547.
- Pichichero ME (2006). "Cephalosporins can be prescribed safely for penicillin-allergic patients" (PDF). The Journal of family practice 55 (2): 106–12. PMID 16451776.
- Pichichero ME (2007). "Use of selected cephalosporins in penicillin-allergic patients: a paradigm shift". Diagn. Microbiol. Infect. Dis. 57 (3 Suppl): 13S–8S. doi:10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2006.12.004. PMID 17349459.
- Antunez C, Blanca-Lopez N, Torres MJ, et al. (2006). "Immediate allergic reactions to cephalosporins: evaluation of cross-reactivity with a panel of penicillins and cephalosporins". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 117 (2): 404–10. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2005.10.032. PMID 16461141.
- Kasten, Britta; Reski, Ralf (March 30, 1997). "β-lactam antibiotics inhibit chloroplast division in a moss (Physcomitrella patens) but not in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)". Journal of Plant Physiology 150 (1–2): 137–140. doi:10.1016/S0176-1617(97)80193-9.
- Mucsi, z; Chass, GA; Ábrányi-Balogh, P; Jójárt, B; Fang, DC; Ramirez-Cuesta, AJ; Viskolcz, B; Csizmadia, IG (2013). "Penicillin's catalytic mechanism revealed by inelastic neutrons and quantum chemical theory". Phys Chem Chem Phys 15 (47): 20447–20455. doi:10.1039/c3cp50868d. PMID 23760063.
- Nicolaou (1996), pg. 43.
- Ernest Duchesne, Contribution à l'étude de la concurrence vitale chez les micro-organismes : antagonisme entre les moisissures et les microbes [Contribution to the study of the vital competition in microorganisms: antagonism between molds and microbes], (Lyon, France: Alexandre Rey, 1897).
- Une découverte oubliée : la thèse de médecine du docteur Ernest Duchesne (1874–1912)
- Tiberio, Vincenzo (1895) "Sugli estratti di alcune muffe" [On the extracts of certain molds], Annali d'Igiene Sperimentale (Annals of Experimental Hygiene), 2nd series, 5 : 91–103. From p. 95: "Risulta chiaro da queste osservazioni che nella sostanza cellulare delle muffe esaminate son contenuti dei principi solubili in acqua, forniti di azione battericida: sotto questo riguardo sono più attivi o in maggior copia quelli dell' Asp. flavescens, meno quelli del Mu. mucedo e del Penn. glaucum." (It is clear from these observations that in the cellular substance of the molds examined are contained some water-soluble substances, provided with bactericidal action: in this respect are more active or in greater abundance those of Aspergillus flavescens; less, those of Mucor mucedo and Penicillium glaucum.)
- Bucci R., Galli P. (2011) "Vincenzo Tiberio: a misunderstood researcher," Italian Journal of Public Health, 8 (4) : 404–406. (Accessed 1 May 2015)
- Migali C.: Gli antibiotici? Una scoperta italiana in Almanacco della Scienza CNR – Rivista OnLine (Accessed 1 May 2015)
- "Alexander Fleming – Time 100 People of the Century". Time.
It was a discovery that would change the course of history. The active ingredient in that mold, which Fleming named penicillin, turned out to be an infection-fighting agent of enormous potency. When it was finally recognized for what it is—the most efficacious life-saving drug in the world—penicillin would alter forever the treatment of bacterial infections.
- Houbraken J, Frisvad JC, Samson RA; Frisvad; Samson (2011). "Fleming's penicillin producing strain is not Penicillium chrysogenum but P. rubens". IMA Fungus 2 (1): 87–95. doi:10.5598/imafungus.2011.02.01.12. PMC 3317369. PMID 22679592.
- Bud, Robert (2009). Penicillin: Triumph and Tragedy. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199541614.
- Haven, Kendall F. (1994). Marvels of Science : 50 Fascinating 5-Minute Reads. Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited. p. 182. ISBN 1-56308-159-8.
- Lax, Eric (2004). The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat: The Story of the Penicillin Miracle. Holt Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0805077780.
- Fleming A. (1929). "On the antibacterial action of cultures of a penicillium, with special reference to their use in the isolation of B. influenzæ". British Journal of Experimental Pathology 10 (31): 226–236. PMC 2566493. PMID 11545337.
- Wainwright M, Swan HT; Swan (January 1986). "C.G. Paine and the earliest surviving clinical records of penicillin therapy". Medical History 30 (1): 42–56. doi:10.1017/S0025727300045026. PMC 1139580. PMID 3511336.
- Howie, J (1986). "Penicillin: 1929–40". British Medical Journal (Clinical research ed.) 293 (6540): 158–159. doi:10.1136/bmj.293.6540.158. PMC 1340901. PMID 3089435.
- Wainwright, M (1987). "The history of the therapeutic use of crude penicillin". Medical History 31 (1): 41–50. doi:10.1017/s0025727300046305. PMC 1139683. PMID 3543562.
- Clark, Ronald (1985). The Life of Ernst Chain: Penicillin and Beyond.
- "Animal Experiments: Further Views". New York Times. 1992-05-24. Retrieved 2014-10-11.
- "Making Penicillin Possible: Norman Heatley Remembers". ScienceWatch. Thomson Scientific. 2007. Archived from the original on 21 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-13.
- The First Use of Penicillin in the United States, by Charles M. Grossman. Annals of Internal Medicine July 15, 2008: Volume 149, Issue 2, Pages 135–136.
- John S. Mailer, Jr., and Barbara Mason. "Penicillin : Medicine's Wartime Wonder Drug and Its Production at Peoria, Illinois". lib.niu.edu. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
- John Parascandola (1980). The History of antibiotics: a symposium. American Institute of the History of Pharmacy No. 5. ISBN 0-931292-08-5.
- Mary Bellis. "The History of Penicillin". Inventors. About.com. Retrieved October 30, 2007.
- Chemical Heritage Manufacturing a Cure: Mass Producing Penicillin
- "ExplorePAhistory.com". Retrieved May 11, 2009.
- Andrew Jackson Moyer, Method for Production of Penicillin, United States Patent Office, US Patent 2,442,141, filed 11 May 1945, issued 25 March 1948.
- Andrew Jackson Moyer, Method for Production of Penicillin, United States Patent Office, US Patent 2,443,989, filed 11 May 1945, issued 22 June 1948.
- Andrew Jackson Moyer, Method for Production of Penicillin, United States Patent Office, US Patent 2,476,107, filed 11 May 1945, issued 12 July 1949.
- Silverthorn, DU. (2004). Human physiology: an integrated approach. (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River (NJ): Pearson Education. ISBN 0-8053-5957-5.
- "Discovery and development of penicillin". American Chemical Society. 1999.
- The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1964, Perspectives. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- Sheehan, John C.; Henery-Logan, Kenneth R. (March 5, 1957). "The Total Synthesis of Penicillin V". Journal of the American Chemical Society 79 (5): 1262–1263. doi:10.1021/ja01562a063.
- Sheehan, John C.; Henery-Logan, Kenneth R. (June 20, 1959). "The Total Synthesis of Penicillin V". Journal of the American Chemical Society 81 (12): 3089–3094. doi:10.1021/ja01521a044.
- E. J. Corey; John D. Roberts. "Biographical Memoirs: John Clark Sheehan". The National Academy Press. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
- Nicolaou, K.C.; Vourloumis, Dionisios; Winssinger, Nicolas; Baran, Phil S. (2000). "The Art and Science of Total Synthesis at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century**". Angewandte Chemie International Edition 39 (1): 44–122. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1521-3773(20000103)39:1<44::AID-ANIE44>3.0.CO;2-L. PMID 10649349.
- "Professor John C. Sheehan Dies at 76". MIT News. April 1, 1992. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
- Sheehan, John C. (1982). The Enchanted Ring: The Untold Story of Penicillin. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-19204-0.
- James, PharmD, Christopher W.; Cheryle Gurk-Turner, RPh (January 2001). "Cross-reactivity of beta-lactam antibiotics". Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings (Dallas, Texas: Baylor University Medical Center) 14 (1): 106–7. PMC 1291320. PMID 16369597.
- Al-Abdallah, Q., Brakhage, A. A., Gehrke, A., Plattner, H., Sprote, P., Tuncher, A. (2004). "Regulation of Penicillin Biosynthesis in Filamentous Fungi". In Brakhage AA. Molecular Biotechnolgy of Fungal beta-Lactam Antibiotics and Related Peptide Synthetases. pp. 45–90. doi:10.1007/b99257. ISBN 3-540-22032-1.
- Brakhage, A. A. (1998). "Molecular Regulation of β-Lactam Biosynthesis in Filamentous Fungi". Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 62 (3): 547–85. PMC 98925. PMID 9729600.
- Baldwin, J. E., Byford, M. F., Clifton, I., Hajdu, J., Hensgens, C., Roach, P, Schofield, C. J.; Baldwin; Byford; Clifton; Hajdu; Hensgens; Roach (1997). "Proteins of the Penicillin Biosynthesis Pathway". Current Opinion in Structural Biology 7 (6): 857–64. doi:10.1016/s0959-440x(97)80158-3. PMID 9434907.
- Fernandez, F. J., Fierro, F., Gutierrez, S, Kosalkova, K . Marcos, A. T., Martin, J. F., Velasco, J.; Gutiérrez; Fernández; Velasco; Fierro; Marcos; Kosalkova (September 1994). "Expression of Genes and Processing of Enzymes for the Biosynthesis of Penicillins and Cephalosporms". Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 65 (3): 227–43. doi:10.1007/BF00871951. PMID 7847890.
- Baker, W. L., Lonergan, G. T. "Chemistry of Some Fluorescamine-Amine Derivatives with Relevance to the Biosynthesis of Benzylpenicillin by Fermentation". J Chem Technol Biot. 2002, 77, pp1283-1288.
- Nicolaou, K.C.; E.J. Corey (1996). Classics in Total Synthesis : Targets, Strategies, Methods (5. repr. ed.). Weinheim: VCH. ISBN 3-527-29284-5.
- Dürckheimer, Walter; Blumbach, Jürgen; Lattrell, Rudolf; Scheunemann, Karl Heinz (March 1, 1985). "Recent Developments in the Field of β-Lactam Antibiotics". Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English 24 (3): 180–202. doi:10.1002/anie.198501801.
- Hamed, Refaat B.; Gomez-Castellanos, J. Ruben; Henry, Luc; Ducho, Christian; McDonough, Michael A.; Schofield, Christopher J. (January 1, 2013). "The enzymes of β-lactam biosynthesis". Natural Product Reports 30 (1): 21–107. doi:10.1039/c2np20065a. PMID 23135477.
- Model of Structure of Penicillin, by Dorothy Hodgkin et al., Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
- on YouTube.
- Penicillin at The Periodic Table of Videos (University of Nottingham)
- Penicillin Released to Civilians Will Cost $35 Per Patient Popular Science, August 1944, article at bottom of page