History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search

Narratives

Former Display Label: 'Measuring penicillin'

The strength of penicillin preparations was determined by measuring the extent to which it prevented bacterial growth. The pencillin was placed in small cylinders in a culture dish [1] and the size of the clear circular inhibited zone gave an indication of strength. Simple apparatus turned this measurement into a routine procedure [2]. The Oxford group defined a standard unit of potency and was able to produce and distribute samples to calibrate research elsewhere [3].

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