THE RATE OF BACTERICIDAL ACTION OF PENICILLIN IN VITRO AS A FUNCTION OF ITS CONCENTRATION, AND ITS PARADOXICALLY REDUCED ACTIVITY AT HIGH CONCENTRATIONS AGAINST

Abstract

Penicillin has been shown to be directly and rapidly bactericidal (1-9), and not merely bacteriostatic. Whether that direct action is augmented in vi~o by the natural defense mechanisms of the body has not yet been conclusively determined; but in any case, it is a reasonable surmise that the concentration of penicillin which is most rapidly effective against a given organism in vitro may also be the most effective in vivo. Further, if different organisms vary not only with respect to the effective concentrations of penicillin, but also in the maximal rate at which they can be killed by the drug, there may be a corresponding variation in the time for which treatment with penicillin must be continued in order to effect cure. The present paper will describe experiments relating to the effect of the concentration of penicillin on the rate of its bactericidal action in vitro against a number of bacteria. As had previously been indicated by Hobby, Meyer, Dawson, and Chaffee (1, 2), Eagle and Musselman (6), and Demerec (7), the rate at which the bacteria were killed by penicillin in vitro was found to var

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