Fleming (1881 ~ 1955)

Fleming's profile

Chinese name: Alexander Fleming

Foreign name: Alexander Fleming

Nationality: British

Place of birth: Rockfield, Scotland

Date of Birth: August 6, 1881

Died: March 11, 1955

Occupation: Biochemist, Microbiologist

Graduate school: University of Westminster, etc.

Main achievement: Discovery of penicillin

Won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine

Passed away: London, England

Research Field: Bacteriology, Immunology

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Alexander Fleming -British Bacteriologist

Alexander Fleming (August 6, 1881-March 11, 1955), British bacteriologist, biochemist, microbiologist.

Lysozyme was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1923, and penicillin was first discovered in 1928. After the British pathologist Flore and the German biochemist Qian En further research and improvement, and successfully used to treat people's diseases, all three won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The discovery of penicillin has enabled humans to find a drug with a powerful bactericidal effect, ending the era when infectious diseases are almost incurable; since then, a climax in the search for new antibiotics has entered, and humans have entered a new era of new synthetic drugs.

Fleming is ranked 45th in the "Top 100 People Affecting the Process of Human History" by American scholar Mike Hart.


Alexander Fleming (1881.8.6-1955.3.11), British microbiologist. Born in Rockfield, near Kilmarnock, Scotland, on August 6, 1881.

When he was 13 years old, he went to work with his brother (practitioner) in London. He accidentally obtained a legacy from his uncle and entered St. Mary's School of Medicine at the University of London. Conduct immunological research.

In 1918 Fleming returned to St. Mary's Medical College to step up research on bacteria. In 1922 he discovered a substance called "lysozyme" and published a report entitled "Peculiar Bacteria Found in Skin Tissues and Secretions".

In 1929, Fleming published a research paper on the bactericidal effect of mold culture in the Journal of British Experimental Pathology, but it was not noticed. Fleming pointed out that penicillin would have important uses, but he was unable to invent a technique for purifying penicillin, making the drug unusable for more than a decade.

In 1939, the Australian Australian Walter Flory (1898-1968) and the German-born Boris Chann (1906-1979) repeated Fleming's work, confirming his results, and then The penicillin was purified and successfully used in patients in 1941. Encouraged by the British and American governments, a method for large-scale production of penicillin was quickly found. In 1944, the United Kingdom and the United States publicly used it in medical treatment. After 1945, penicillin spread throughout the world. In 1945, Fleming, Flory and Chann won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.

Fleming became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1943 and was awarded to the Jazz in 1944. Fleming married in 1915, his son was an ordinary doctor, and his wife died in 1949. Married again in 1953. He died on March 11, 1955, and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. Hungarian issued a stamp to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Fleming's birth in 1981.

Growth experience

Study experience

Fleming's path to growth is far from smooth. When he was 7 years old, his father died. The elder brother and mother raised him and several brothers. He grew up in the mountains, which strengthened his observation ability. It is considered to have accumulated a preliminary foundation for future bacterial culture. At the age of 13, Fleming went to London to join his half-brother Tom. Tom had already graduated from the University of Glasgow, went to London to develop a career and became an ophthalmologist. He first studied in a similar technical school, and after graduating at the age of 16, he went to work at a shipping company specializing in American trade.

In 1901, when Fleming was 20 years old, a lifelong unmarried concubine died, leaving a considerable legacy, Fleming received 250 pounds. Tom urged him to make good use of the wealth and advised him to study medicine. In July, Fleming passed 16 exams and was qualified to enter St Mary's Hospital Medical College. The reason he chose this school was because he had played against the water polo team from this college during his work. During his studies, Fleming received scholarships from various schools. In July 1906, he passed a series of tests and qualified for an independent clinic. But his life and fate were changed by John Freeman. Freeman was a high-year grant manager under Wright. He lobbied on both ends. In the end, Fleming was not very willing to become a low-year grant manager of the vaccination department. The main reason to say Fleming was reluctant was that in 1908, Fleming participated in a series of higher-level tests unrelated to his work and won a gold medal. And in order to obtain a surgeon qualification, he found another job as a surgical resident and did not work full time in the vaccination room. In 1909 he passed the test and qualified as a surgeon. But since then, he has nothing to do with surgery.


No one knows why Fleming eventually stayed with Wright, maybe it was related to Wright's tolerance. Under the circumstances, academic authorities usually did not support it, and their assistants independently conducted scientific research according to their own interests. As early as 1909, Fleming started his own research on vaccinating acne, and successfully improved the tedious detection procedure of syphilis. In addition, he was also one of the few doctors who had the advanced technology of intravenous injection in that era. In London, almost only he could inject the latest treatment for syphilis patients-606, all of which gave him a preliminary academic reputation. . Of course, he did not leave the scope of Wright's research, and under his guidance did a series of research work on phagocytic cells, opsonins, typhoid bacteria and so on.

Later, when World War I broke out, Wright led his research team to the French front to study whether the vaccine can prevent wound infections. This gave Fleming an extremely rare opportunity to learn about pathogenic bacteria. There he also verified his idea that in the tissues with high oxygen content, accompanied by the depletion of oxygen, it would be beneficial to the growth of anaerobic microorganisms. In addition, he and Wright confirmed that disinfecting wounded wounds with bactericide did not actually work well. The bacteria were not actually killed, but the human phagocytes were killed, and the wound was more prone to malignant infection. They suggested using concentrated saline to flush the wounds, a suggestion that was widely adopted only during World War II. However, rinsing should be done as soon as possible. If the wound is severely infected, concentrated saline will not be effective. In addition, he has done a series of other studies with other colleagues, two of which are more important. He did the first scientific research on nosocomial infections in history, and now nosocomial infections are a very important issue. In addition, he also promoted the improvement of blood transfusion technology, made research on the anticoagulant effect of sodium citrate and the coagulation effect of calcium, and used the new technology to blood transfusion to 100 wounded, all of which were successful.


In November 1921, Fleming caught a severe cold. When he cultivated a new type of coccus aureus, he simply took a little nasal mucus and dropped it on the solid medium. Two weeks later, when Fleming checked the culture dish one last time before washing, he found an interesting phenomenon. The clonal community of cocci was spread on the medium, but the mucus was not there, and a little further, it seemed that a new colony of colonies appeared, with a translucent appearance like glass. Fleming once thought that the new clone was a neococcus from his nasal mucus, and jokingly named AF (abbreviation of his name) coccus. His colleague Allison thinks it is more likely to be caused by bacterial contamination in the air. They soon discovered that the so-called new clone was not a new bacterium at all, but was caused by bacterial dissolution.

On November 21, 1921, Fleming's experimental logbook wrote the title of antibiotics and sketched the situation of three media. The first is a medium with his nasal mucus added, the second is a culture of white coccus, and the third label says "air". The first medium repeated the above results, and the latter two mediums were filled with bacterial clones. Obviously, by this time, Fleming had begun to conduct comparative studies and came to a clear conclusion that nasal mucus contained "antibiotics". Then they found that almost all body fluids and secretions contained "antibiotics", even in nails, but usually not in sweat and urine. They also found that both heat and protein precipitants can destroy its antibacterial function, so he concluded that the newly discovered antibiotic must be an enzyme. When he reported the results to Wright, Wright suggested calling it lysozyme, and the original bacteria were now called Micrococcus tenuis.

In order to further study lysozyme, Fleming had begged for tears everywhere, so that at one point, colleagues could not avoid him when they saw him, and the matter was drawn as a cartoon and published in the newspaper. In January 1922, they discovered that there was a very active lysozyme in the egg whites of eggs, which solved the source of lysozyme. Later in 1922, Fleming published the first paper on lysozyme. Fleming and his assistant did another 7 years of research on the newly discovered lysozyme, but the results were disappointing. This enzyme was not strong in sterilization and had no effect on many pathogenic bacteria.


In writing, a recent research paper published by Bigger et al. In 1927 on the mutation of Staphylococcus aureus (the main pathogen causing cross infection in hospitals) attracted Fleming's attention. According to the literature, Staphylococcus aureus on agarose plate medium, after a long period of about 52 days of room temperature culture, will get a variety of mutant colonies, even white colonies. For doubt or other reasons, Fleming decided to repeat the findings of the article. In early 1928, he asked assistant Price to repeat the discovery, but Price was reluctant to continue his bacteriological research and switched to pathological research. So Fleming had to do it himself.

In this way, from the beginning of the year to July, Fleming has been repeatedly studying the findings of Bigger et al. At the same time, he has also developed a habit, even those that were not normal medium for observing mutant colonies, and before washing, Let it stand at room temperature for a long time, make a final observation-trying to find new mutant colonies-and then wash it. It is found that there is a pale white displayed by the lysobacteria on the edge of the culture medium, so penicillin was found, and in 1929 In June, he published "On the bactericidal effect of mold culture", which finally won the Nobel Prize thesis.


During this decade, Fleming only published two research papers on penicillin. But his experimental records show that in this decade, Fleming did not stop penicillin research completely. In fact, he has done intravenous injections of rabbits and mice in crude penicillin extracts. However, when using guinea pigs for oral experiments, a very high lethality appeared. It is now known that this is caused by the normal intestinal flora being killed. This may have hurt Fleming's confidence. After all, many early-discovered antibiotics in the world finally found little value for treatment. In addition, Fleming was the first in the world to discover that staphylococci can quickly develop resistance after contact with penicillin, which may further hurt his confidence, but unfortunately he has not published these findings. Penicillin is extremely difficult to extract and its activity is unstable, all of which cannot be solved by Fleming himself.

It should be said that the penicillin discovered by Fleming did not attract much attention at that time, except that a group of followers in the outpatient department of his hospital were trying to use the crude extract of penicillin to treat eye infections and skin diseases such as gardenia. What can be checked is that in 1932, a doctor at the hospital where Fleming was located also tried to treat eye diseases with a crude extract of penicillin, and achieved good results. Although Flory had studied lysozyme, when the doctor reported to Flory, the later leader of the Oxford team, Flory had no interest in penicillin at the time. It was not until 1939, when Qian En arrived, that after systematically reviewing the literature and strongly recommending penicillin, Flory changed his attitude. The original source of the bacteria for the Oxford team was the one that Fleming gave to Flory's former director Drever in 1929.

In 1940, Fleming became famous because he was the discoverer of penicillin, but in his lectures on various important occasions, he attributed the birth of penicillin to the research done by the Oxford team.

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