Friday, January 16, 2009

Corn Liquor as a Savior?

The discovery of penicillin as an antibiotic revolutionized drugs against disease, but one of the biggest problems was that there wasn’t enough of it to combat infectious diseases. In Peoria’s Northern Regional Research Laboratory (NRRL), five scientists, Robert Coghill, O.E. May, George Ward, Kenneth Raper, and Andrew Moyer worked on finding ways to mass produce penicillin. They used relatively cheap corn steep liquor and phenylacetic acid to increase the growth of the drug. The process involved four steps: 1) collection and analysis of molds, 2) feeding of molds with corn liquor, 3) fermentation, 4) recovery of penicillin from molds. After extracting penicillin by screening and pressing the molds, the National Research Council was able to ship the drug to doctors, hospitals, and the military.

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