Mode of Action of Basic Antibacterial Substances

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THAT spermine and streptomycin "do not affect the respiration of yeast and thus have no direct bactericidal activity", as stated by Massart1, is a conclusion with which many will not agree. Apart from the dangers inherent in applying to bacteria results which have been obtained with yeast, there are few grounds for supposing that the facility with which a drug can impair bacterial respiration bears any simple relation to its growth-inhibiting properties. Indeed, Ferguson and Thorne2 have shown that the order in which six aminoacridines repress the respiration of B. coli (when the substrates were glucose, pyruvic acid, lactic acid, asparagin or oleic acid) bears no obvious relation to the order of their activity in retarding the growth of this bacterium.

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  1. 1

    Massart, Nature, 162, 779 (1948).

  2. 2

    Ferguson and Thorne, J. Pharmacol., 86, 258 (1946).

  3. 3

    Albert, Rubbo, Goldacre, Davey and Stone, Brit. J. Exp. Path., 26, 160 (1945).

  4. 4

    Albert, Lancet, ii, 633 (1942).

  5. 5

    Dubos, "The Bacterial Cell", 288 (Harvard University Press, 1945).

  6. 6

    Hartley, Quart. Rev., 2, 152 (1948).

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ALBERT, A., GOLDACRE, R. Mode of Action of Basic Antibacterial Substances. Nature 163, 802 (1949) doi:10.1038/163802a0

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