• Post By : Lakshmi Balachandran

  • Source: Microbioz India

  • Date: 02 Sep,2021

The delicate, slender, wee-little bug,
Do you know, they produce many a drug!
Oh! How they accomplish this veritable feat,
Let me introduce the Actinomycetes.

Their discovery was indeed a chance,
Their performance stunned the scientific world, in a trance,
On the Petri plate, they were dressed as if for a dance,
The pleated colonies carried solutions for many a man’s grievance.

Selman Waksman was astute to notice the fuzz, His observations and studies quickly created a buzz,
To group them separately he took a determined stance,
Research on Actinomycetes steadily advanced.

These wonderful microbes were teeming in the soil,
The grandiose plans of many pathogens, they were to foil,
How? How? How? The scientists wondered in askance,
Actinomycin was the first to make an appearance.

In experimental animals, it proved real toxic,
A discovery failed, so screamed the critic,
But Stock and Hackman went back to do some research basic,
Lo! It was the first anti-cancer drug; what a magic?

One by one the antibiotics kept coming,
None could guess which type would be the next in the offing,
Streptothricin, Cephalosporin, Chloramphenicol – their effulgence unveiling,
But it was Streptomycin, as anti-TB which made many start living.

Six decades ago, began their exploitation,
The variety of drugs they’ve given us is indeed a revelation,
In their growth medium, make a slight modification
Oh! How they stump us with a new drug creation.

The world is finally impressed with their exhibition,
The pharma companies are now steeled with determination,
Tracking novel Actinomycetes from novel destinations,
Their versatility is our discovery & innovation.

About Author

Lakshmi Balachandran is a Microbiologist by training. This poem was written in 2010 when working on her first publication entitled, “Antibacterial Agents from Actinomycetes – A Review” co-authored along with Dr Girish Mahajan. Earlier, she has served with Karmic Lifesciences as a Senior Medical Writer. Currently, she is a freelance medical writer.