A Moldy Discovery

Read the passage carefully before answering the questions.

Alexander Fleming was a bacteriologist, a scientist that studies how bacteria made people sick. In 1914, during World War 1, he served as a medical doctor for the army. He saw many men die from infections in their wounds.

The doctors treated the wounds by pouring antiseptics, like iodine onto the wounds. Fleming notice the infections worsen. He realized that the antiseptics did not just kill bad bacteria, but good bacteria and anything that could help the body fight the infection. After the war, Fleming soon discovered a chemical called lysozyme, one of the body’s natural germ killers.

He grew the bacteria in small dishes in his lab. He had a lot! One day he found a dish that had been missing, it had mold; but instead of throwing it away he observed it. He noticed wherever the mold grew, the bacteria did not. The mold stopped the bacteria from reproducing. This mold was in the penicillium family, so he called it penicillin. Today, penicillin is used to fight many kinds of bacteria.

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