Biosynthesis is the formation of chemical compounds
by using the cells
of living organisms
are a direct result of biosynthesis. For example, we have penicillium
, which is one of the six genera of molds
. Penicillium is used to create well over 1,000 antibiotics through the process of biosynthesis. The molds used in the biosynthesis of antibiotics, are special strains
of mold developed over many years of careful research
. In a nutshell, here is the process they follow to come up with the "supermolds" they use in the development of antibiotics we use today:
A mold is exposed to an agent, perhaps a certain chemical or radiation, that in turn causes a mutation in some of the microorganisms. The molds that show promise of producing antibiotics in larger amounts, or would prove to be more effective than existing antibiotics, are chosen for further research. More mutations are induced; then the selection process repeated again and again.
This technique has been frequently used in combination with fermentation technology to produce penicillium strains that yield ten-thousand times as much antibiotic than the wild strains from which they came. By altering the chemical structure of these substances, scientists can develop more powerful antibiotics.
The technology of antibiotic manufacture has kept pace with the new methods of biosynthesis. Today, pharmaceutical manufacturing plants produce huge amounts of antibiotics. Much of the manufacturing process is directed from computer terminals, which monitor temperature and nutrient composition, as well as adjust growth conditions. Antibiotic fermentation tanks hold up to 200,000 liters(53,000 gallons) of mold and medium mixture.