Penicillin is an antibiotic; also know by the name of Penicillin V or phenoxymethylpenicillin. It is used to treat infections caused by different bacteria. Penicillin is also the name of the class of antibiotics that have core-structures known as beta-lactams.
Formula and structure: Penicillin chemical formula is C16H18N2O5S and it molar mass is 350.389 g mol-1. The molecule is formed by three carboxylic group, one of them corresponding to the carboxylic acid moiety. The molecule is mostly planar: in one extreme there is an aromatic ring and in the other part there are two hetero rings fusoned to form a B-lactam group (in red color). Its chemical structure can be written as below, in the common representations used for organic molecules.
Occurrence: The penicillin is excreted by some fungi of the genus Penicillium. These fungi biosynthesized the structure trough large and complex reactions and with the help of a many enzymes.
Preparation: Penicillin can be prepared through fermentation of the fungus Penicillium chrysogenum, which should be stressed by any factor such a high/low temperature, due to in normal condition the fungus does not biosynthesized penicillin. After the fermentation, the culture is extracted, filtered and purified. A second methodology, known as semi-fermentation methodology, is produced by chemical synthesis the precursor required by the biosynthesis (2-phenoxyethanol) and adds to a Penicillium culture using some yeast in the medium.
Physical properties: Penicillin is a white, odorless, crystalline solid or powder. Its density is 1.43 g mL-1. The melting point is 120-128 ºC, and above this temperature, penicillin decomposes. Penicillin is poorly soluble in water and it is soluble in acetone and alcohols.
Chemical properties: Penicillin acts due to it inhibits the peptidoglycan synthesis, thus the bacterial wall can be penetrated easily by the aminoglycosides, starting of disruption of the wall. Other mechanism of action is the block the division of other bacteria. It is lesser active than other penicillins.
Uses: Penicillin V is used in the treatment of some infections, particularly skin, throat and ears infections. The penicillin V is only ingested by mouth, while other penicillins are injected on patients. The antibiotic works against infections caused by Streptococcus pyogenes and tonsillitis.
Health effects / safety hazards: Penicillin similar to other antibiotics should also be consumed following medical indications. This antibiotic makes birth control pills less effective and can result in pregnancy. It is not flammable.