Saturday, January 19, 2013

A full two years after Florey arrives at Peoria, the NRRL starts looking for new sources of penicillin strains..."Soon" ?

Penicillin: II. Natural Variation
and Penicillin Production in
Penicillium notatum and
Allied Species

If pollyanna historians says two years - in the middle of a war - is "soon" , then I guess it must be so.

"Howard Florey arrives in Peoria in early July 1941 and "soon" planes of the American Air Transport Command are delivering moldy earth samples from the four corners of the world.... and that is why we have abundant penicillin today."

I always knew this story had to be bunk : the Air Transport Command won't even be in the four corners of the world for another year or two or three.

Ken Raper, the man at NRRL who directed that search and should know best says (in the1945 peer reviewed article at the top of this post) that the search started in June 1943.

Ie, after the OSRD stepped back from two years of navel fluff removal and the OPRD got involved in its typically no nonsense way.

If the OSRD's infamous AN Richards wasn't so hell-bound on a chemical synthetic solution, the NRRL would have gotten money and encouragement a lot earlier to search for higher producing strains than those held already by the NRRL  --- and these strains were key to the final successful chapter in the long penicillin saga...

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