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Principles of Antimicrobial Drug Action

  • David Edwards
Chapter

Abstract

The drugs which are active against microbial growth are of two types: those produced by micro-organisms, classed as antibiotics,and those which are synthetic. The antibiotics form the largest group and these may be defined as substances which, produced by micro-organisms, inhibit the growth of or kill other microorganisms. Even this is not a completely satisfactory definition since some microorganisms produce enzymes which are secreted extracellularly which can kill other cells, and other organisms produce protein factors which also can kill cells, for example the colicins, the killer factors of yeast and the kappa particles of Paramecium. Most antibiotics are secondary metabolites. These are substances which are produced at the end of the growth phase of micro-organisms in situations when the cells have stopped dividing (see figure 2.1).
Figure 2.1

Secondary metabolite (antibiotic) production during the growth phase of micro-organisms. The stippled area represents the zone of secondary metabolite production. A indicates the lag phase; B indicates the logarithmic or exponential phase; C indicates the stationary phase; D indicates the death phase.

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2.7 References and Further Reading

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  10. Kavanagh, F. (1963/72). Analytical Microbiology. Academic Press, London, Vol.1 (1963), Vol.2 (1972)Google Scholar
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© David Edwards 1980

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  • David Edwards

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