snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Archived Forums » Science Archive » penicillin - oranges or bread?

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: penicillin - oranges or bread?
the fragility
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 502 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I was watching a game show (I believe it was Friend of Foe?) and the question was "Does penicillin come from oranges or bread mold?" They both said oranges and got it wrong.

I always thought that penicillin came from oranges, and last year's biology book agreed with me. I asked my dad about it, and he said that penicillin is a bread mold. My mom comes into it and says no, it comes from oranges.

Anyone else face similar confusion?

IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Nesyut
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 01 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Probably doesnt count for much, but during the study of the History of Medicine in high school, it was mentioned as bread mould.

Mmmm, furry bread...

IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Spam & Cookies-mmm
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 503 posted      Profile for Spam & Cookies-mmm   E-mail Spam & Cookies-mmm   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I remember learning that it was a bread mold, but I am finding sources on the internet that mention that it grows on fruits. A gardeners' source answers the question "Sometimes there's a blue-green mold on my lily bulbs. Should I be concerned?" with
quote:
This is a penicillin mold, which does not harm bulbs. Lilies are very high in sugar content (their stored food for the next season's growth) and during storage penicillin growth often appears where there might have been a small harvesting bruise.
So it will probably grow anywhere there is a sufficient sugar source.

By the way... if I'm allergic to penicillin, should I avoid bleu cheese? I mean, I do anyway, but it's nice to have an excuse. [Roll Eyes]

--------------------
Did you see the Announcement?
There's a new snopes message board!

Posts: 7767 | From: Paradise Ceded | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Wizard of Yendor
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


Icon 204 posted      Profile for Wizard of Yendor   E-mail Wizard of Yendor   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I did some quick research (read "put 'penicillin mold' in Google and read the first site that came up") and it seems there are more than one kind of "penicillin mold", not all of which produce actual penicillin. I also learned that when it was first mass produced, they grew it on corn but actually got one of their best samples from a rotten cantaloupe.

So, apperently it's actually several molds, at least some of which grow on both grain and fruit.

Posts: 2352 | From: California | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
trollface
The Bills of St. Mary's


Icon 01 posted      Profile for trollface   Author's Homepage   E-mail trollface   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Not adding to the discussion, but a couple of weeks ago, I was down to my last couple of slices of bread, and it was too cold (read: I couldn't be bothered) to get all togged up and go down the shop. So I was half way through the ensuing sadwich, when I noticed that there were small bits of mould in places on the bread. I just figured, as I'd already eaten the majority) "Eh, what's the worst it's going to do to me; cure my headache?" and ate the rest.

I felt no ill effects, but my headache remains.

BTW, I'm pretty sure that the first penicillin was discovered growing on bread, which is probably what the quizmaster ment to ask, even if it wasn't what they did ask.

--------------------
seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

Posts: 16061 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Spam & Cookies-mmm
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 01 posted      Profile for Spam & Cookies-mmm   E-mail Spam & Cookies-mmm   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
BTW, I'm pretty sure that the first penicillin was discovered growing on bread, which is probably what the quizmaster ment to ask, even if it wasn't what they did ask.

IIRC penicillin was discovered in a petri dish with a bacteria culture. The bacteria were all dead in the area around the moldy spots, which is why the discoverer (TLTLU*) found it interesting enough to study.

*too lazy to look up

--------------------
Did you see the Announcement?
There's a new snopes message board!

Posts: 7767 | From: Paradise Ceded | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Chava
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 504 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
By the way... if I'm allergic to penicillin, should I avoid bleu cheese? I mean, I do anyway, but it's nice to have an excuse.
People who are allergic to penicillin are frequently allergic to other molds, and vice versa.

But I don't think you really need an excuse to avoid bleu cheese. It's almost never the only choice for salad dressings.

Chava

IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 01 posted      Profile for Elkhound         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Spam & Cookies-mmm:
quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
BTW, I'm pretty sure that the first penicillin was discovered growing on bread, which is probably what the quizmaster ment to ask, even if it wasn't what they did ask.

IIRC penicillin was discovered in a petri dish with a bacteria culture. The bacteria were all dead in the area around the moldy spots, which is why the discoverer (TLTLU*) found it interesting enough to study.

*too lazy to look up

The discoverer's name was Flem(m)ing; I think his first name was either Arthur or Alexander.

Centuries before pen. was identified, village herb-wives were rubbing moldy bread on infected wounds; they knew that it (sometimes) helped, even if they did not know why.

--------------------
"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

Posts: 3307 | From: Charleston, WV | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Cynestria
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 95 posted      Profile for Cynestria   E-mail Cynestria   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Spam & Cookies-mmm:
By the way... if I'm allergic to penicillin, should I avoid bleu cheese?

I don't know if it's a direct correlation, but I'm allergic to penecillin, and the one time I ate *chunks* of blue cheese, rather than the little crumbs in dressing, I ended up barely breathing.
Posts: 3700 | From: New York | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Red and Green Martini
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 01 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Elkhound:
[QUOTE]The discoverer's name was Flem(m)ing; I think his first name was either Arthur or Alexander.

Alexander Fleming

Pink "And this concludes the educational portion of the program" Martini

IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kiwibird In a Pear Tree
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 99 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by trollface:
"Eh, what's the worst it's going to do to me; cure my headache?" and ate the rest..

Does penicillin have the reputation of curing headaches?
IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
idioteque
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 01 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Penicillin is an antibiotic.

(Edited to fix URL)

IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kiwibird In a Pear Tree
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 214 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by idioteque:
Penicillin is an antibiotic.


Er, yes, I am aware of that. However, I was wondering why Trollface thought it might help a headache. Antibiotics are often used for off-brand uses, the most common being the folks who clamor for one when they actually have a virus, rather than a bacterial infection.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
idioteque
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 01 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Er, yes, I am aware of that. However, I was wondering why Trollface thought it might help a headache.

Sorry if my post came off as snarky, I didn't know if penicillin had a reputation for curing headaches either. I originally I had the URL link to a page within that site that had a list of uses for penicillin, but I had to change the link to the main page because I couldn't figure out how to make it work...Anyway, I'm not an expert on penicillin, I just know I'm not allergic to it, but this is what the site says about it:

quote:

The infections which penicillin is most affective with are: strep, pneumonia, spinal meningitis, gas gangrene, diphtheria, syphilis, and gonorrhea. Penicillin is the preferred treatment of meningitis. The penicillin is given intravenously for maximum affect. Most other infections , however, are treated by injections. One particular infection, streptococcal pharyngitis can be cured with only one shot of penicillin.

I don't know if headaches are associated with any of these infections or not, but as far as I can tell penicillin does not have a reputation for curing headaches. Which is fine with me, I'd take a pill over a shot anyday.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kiwibird In a Pear Tree
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 214 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by idioteque:
Which is fine with me, I'd take a pill over a shot anyday.

Various forms of penicillin are administered most often in pill form these days, although emergency rooms do sometimes give it as an injection. That old standby is much rarer than it used to be.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bonnie
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 81 posted      Profile for Bonnie   E-mail Bonnie       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
However, I was wondering why Trollface thought [penicillin] might help a headache.
Well, he was making a joking allusion to nasty old bread ripe with ergot, derivatives of which are used to treat migraines.

Bonnie "rye humor, you know" Taylor

--------------------
Se non è vero, è ben trovato.

Posts: -99014 | From: Chapel Hill, North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kiwibird In a Pear Tree
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 202 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Bonnie:
Well, he was making a joking allusion to nasty old bread ripe with ergot, derivatives of which are used to treat migraines.

Bonnie "rye humor, you know" Taylor

I see. Then in that case, the literal worst thing that could happen after ingesting a slice of bread infected with ergot is that you would hallucinate or have a miscarriage.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Cynestria
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 01 posted      Profile for Cynestria   E-mail Cynestria   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Kiwibird In a Pear Tree:I see. Then in that case, the literal worst thing that could happen after ingesting a slice of bread infected with ergot is that you would hallucinate or have a miscarriage.[/QB]
I don't think trollface has to worry about a miscarriage too much. [Wink]
Posts: 3700 | From: New York | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Kate
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


Icon 01 posted      Profile for Kate   E-mail Kate   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Kiwibird In a Pear Tree:
the literal worst thing that could happen after ingesting a slice of bread infected with ergot is that you would hallucinate or have a miscarriage.

Or get gangrene, I seem to remember. (But my memory may have been impaired by ergotamine. [Wink] )

Kate "et in Arcadia ergot"

EDIT: Heavens, ergot's actually rather nasty stuff. Apparently:
quote:
Humans and animals common acute symptoms is a convulsion stimulation of CNS (central nervous system). Chronic symptoms include damage to the lining of capillaries and constriction of the smaller arterial blood vessels resulting in gangrene of the extremities (Fuller and McClintock,19). Some symptoms involve tingling of fingers, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other symptoms involve losing the sensation in fingers and limbs of developing gangrene of fingers where they rot away, which causes painful spasms of legs and arms.

Posts: 2451 | From: Hong Kong/Cairns | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Mosherette
Deck the Malls


Icon 01 posted      Profile for Mosherette     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I dimly remember some TV programme on the Salem witches that blamed ergot poisoning for the convulsions and fits that they were blamed for.

Anyhoo, both my parents are allergic to penicillin but both absolutely adore blue cheese and eat loads of it with impunity. It must vary from person to person. (I, on the other hand, am not allergic to penicillin but can't stand blue chesse - not because I'm allergic to it, it just tastes horrid.)

--------------------
Silence should never under any circumstances be construed as agreement. A lot of the time, it's simply a reflection that someone just said something so stupid that no response could possibly do it justice. - Ramblin' Dave

Posts: 8528 | From: Nottingham, England | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
RealityChuck
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 01 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Back to the original question, neither answer is correct.

Penicillin can grow on a wide variety of media. The trick to the commercial use of it was finding a way to grow the mold in bulk. The first mass production of it grew out of work at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, IL, USA. According to their history
quote:
Not to be outdone, Mary Hunt discovered a superior strain of penicillium in a garbage can at a local fruit market. She found a beautiful moldy cantaloupe containing the superior strain of penicillium later named penicillium chrysogenum. By the end of its research, the NCAUR team had increased production of the mold by one hundred times.
There's confirmation on this site.

So commercially available penicillin was originally from a canteloupe.

IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Elkhound
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 01 posted      Profile for Elkhound         Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mistletoe and Mosh:
I dimly remember some TV programme on the Salem witches that blamed ergot poisoning for the convulsions and fits that they were blamed for.


Isn't ergot the natural analog to LSD?

--------------------
"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart."--Iris Murdoch

Posts: 3307 | From: Charleston, WV | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
cute puppy sporks
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 07 posted            Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cynestria, world's cutest assassin:
quote:
Originally posted by Spam & Cookies-mmm:
By the way... if I'm allergic to penicillin, should I avoid bleu cheese?

I don't know if it's a direct correlation, but I'm allergic to penecillin, and the one time I ate *chunks* of blue cheese, rather than the little crumbs in dressing, I ended up barely breathing.
Just to add my two-cents and swing the thread a little off-topic, I have pretty strong allergies to a lot of molds and fungi. However, it is not a blanket allergy. I can be exposed to some molds and be fine, but others floor me with a sinus headache that makes a migraine seem like happy time. Blue cheese sets me off, but really strong feta or camembert does not. Penicillin is fine (in fact, it's one of the only ones I can take) but many other antibiotics bring me reactions. Mushrooms give me a purely random effect. I think it's related to the level of sporing.

If I had a biology degree, I might be able to track down what particular families of mold and fungi upset me. Unfortunately, trial and error is about the best bet. So, if you get ill after having blue cheese and it feels similar to other allergy attacks, then it might well be.

kate sporks

IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2