Printer Friendly

Streptomycin [strep"to-mi'sin].

In the late 1930s, Selman Waksman, a soil microbiologist working at the New Jersey Agricultural Station of Rutgers University, began a large-scale program to screen soil bacteria for antimicrobial activity. By 1943, Albert Schatz, a PhD student working in Waksman's laboratory, had isolated streptomycin from Streptomyces griseus (from the Greek strepto- ["twisted"] + mykes ["fungus"] and the Latin griseus, "gray").

In 1944, Willam H. Feldman and H. Corwin Hinshaw at the Mayo Clinic showed its efficacy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Waksman was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1952 for his discovery of streptomycin, although much of the credit for the discovery has since been ascribed to Schatz. Schatz later successfully sued to be legally recognized as a co-discoverer of streptomycin.


(1.) Comroe JH Jr. Pay dirt: the story of streptomycin. Part I. From Waksman to Waksman. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1978;117:773-81.

(2.) Wainwright M. Streptomycin: discovery and resultant controversy. Hist Philos Life Sci. 1991;13:97-124.

Address for correspondence: Ronnie Henry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Mailstop E28, Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA; email:


Caption: Slide culture of a Streptomyces sp. bacteria, which produces the antibiotic streptomycin. Note the branching filamentous hyphae, abundant aerial mycelia, and long chains of small spores. Image: CDC/Dr. David Berd

COPYRIGHT 2019 U.S. National Center for Infectious Diseases
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:etymologia
Author:Henry, Ronnie
Publication:Emerging Infectious Diseases
Article Type:Report
Date:Mar 1, 2019
Previous Article:Treatment Outcomes in Global Systematic Review and Patient Meta-Analysis of Children with Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis.
Next Article:Bacillus Calmette-Guerin Cases Reported to the National Tuberculosis Surveillance System, United States, 2004-2015.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters