streptomycin (strĕpˌtōmĪˈsĭn) [key], antibiotic produced by soil bacteria of the genus Streptomyces and active against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria (see Gram's stain), including species resistant to other antibiotics, e.g., some streptococci, penicillin-resistant staphylococci, and bacteria of the genera Proteus and Pseudomonas. Originally isolated in 1947 by Albert Schatz, a graduate student working in Selman A. Waksman's laboratory, streptomycin is effective against tubercle bacilli and has long been a mainstay of tuberculosis therapy. Because streptomycin-resistant tubercle bacilli emerge during treatment, the antibiotic is usually used in combination with one or more of the drugs isoniazid, ethambutol, and aminosalicylic acid, and isoniazid is now the treatment of choice for prevention of tuberculosis and for active cases. Streptomycin acts by inhibiting protein synthesis and damaging cell membranes in susceptible microorganisms. Possible side effects include injury to the kidneys and nerve damage that can result in dizziness and deafness.
See study by P. Pringle (2012).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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