Origin And Significance Of Antibiotics and Probiotics

96 well plates

Antibiotics are popular pharmacological drugs that act as agents for not just the prevention of infections but also to treat them. Furthermore, they are used to treat microbes and consider everything. They are ranked as one of the most significant developments in modern science. If we break down the origin of the word ‘antibiotic’ originally from the Greek language, biotikos translates to against life!

The origin of antibiotics

Although now scientists use state-of-the-art equipment like 384 Well Plates to produce modern antibiotics and other pharmacological drugs, we would come across the centuries-old Chinese practice if we look into the origin of the drug’s production. Back in time, the Chinese used to utilise antibiotics in the mouldy form of soybean curd, and they used to apply to the furuncles and carbuncles.

Then came the ancient Greeks, who (including Hippocrates) used to apply this chemical religiously. It was a substance with hidden antimicrobial properties, and usually, these substances were composed of inorganic salts and myrrh. Primarily they were used for the treatment of infected wounds.

Finally came the discovery of antibiotics in 1928. Fleming discovered the first antibiotic. This event was followed by the discovery and clinical use of sulphonamides. Now, all of that transpired somewhere around the 1930s. That is why that era has heralded the age of modern antibiotherapy. 

This was followed by widespread usage of Penicillin and the fact it was clinically available around the wars, and its utilisation skyrocketed to another level. Thus, time was declared the ‘golden era’ because of its great use and increasing production.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live microbes that are extracted to be used as agents to put as simply as possible. Due to probiotics’ unique composition and tendencies, they are primarily used to alter metabolic activities. Moreover, they are used to assist the process of microbiota, so immune system reactivity could be modulated so that benefits could be fostered by the health benefits of humans and other organisms.

If we start to talk about the term ‘probiotic’, it also has its original ties with the Greek language. The term has come from the word ‘biotikos’, which means ‘for life. 

Probiotics are common food ingredients that are usually oligosaccharides but can also be other forms of glucose. These substances escape through the digestion transpiring gastrointestinal tract. Furthermore, they selectively grow certain bacterial genera like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria inside the colon. 

The effectiveness of Probiotics and their role in gut

An average human intestine is composed of lots of different bacteria. Some of them could be bifurcated into transient flora and native inhabitants of the colon. These are particular kinds of microorganisms that help to colonise the oral cavity and its mucosal surfaces.  In addition to the colon, the colonisation of these healthy bacteria is further present at the rest of the gastrointestinal, respiratory and urogenital tract. 

Although the gastrointestinal tract of most humans is sterile at birth, the normal flora of bacteria begins to colonise in the mucus surfaces of human babies right after they are brought into this world. These bacteria are known as microflora, and they are much different from the microflora of an adult human. 

The influence on the composition of bacteria

There are specific factors that influence the composition of bacteria breeding on a human’s gut, but breastfeeding has the most significant impact. 

The practice of Breastfeeding has significantly increased in recent years, and by using 96 Well Plates, scientists have witnessed a surge in the growth of bacteria like Clostridium, Bacteroides, Lactobacilli, and some species of Bifidobacteria. 

When solid or complex foods are introduced into an infant’s gut, the general microflora turns very similar irrespective of the presence and absence of breastfeeding. 

As time follows, the human progresses in age and also becomes more robust. Thus when the infant becomes a two-year-old toddler, their microflora starts converting to the normal flora of an adult human.

All of this is followed by the general immunological response of the gut. The response is chiefly mediated through the lymphocytes present within the lamina propria and T helper cells. Furthermore, the responses could be elicited towards the extracellular and intracellular pathogens.


Conly, J. M., & Johnston, L. B. (n.d.). Coming full circle: From antibiotics to probiotics and prebiotics. PMC US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 1(3), 161–163.


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