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Letter from Linus Pauling to A. N. Richards. December 29, 1944.
Pauling writes to forward Dan Campbell's report on their pencillin experiments, which
summarizes work that, in Pauling's judgement, "has so far not provided any very promising
Dr. A. N. Richards
2101 Constitution Avenue
Washington 25, D.C.
Dear Dr. Richards:
The work on penicillin, which we have not prosecuted very intensively because
of other activities, has so far not provided any very promising results. I inclose
[sic] a report by Professor Dan H. Campbell on the work which has been carried out.
REPORT FOR RICHARDS
The first study of penicillin was an attempt to combine it with glyoxal0treated
serum albumin. No combination was obtained. The glyoxal had no effect on the activity
of the penicillin.
Since serum proteins tend to associate of polymerize under the influence of denaturing
agents, experiments were carried out to determine whether penicillin would be incorporated
into such protein complexes. The denaturing agents and conditions studied were urea,
moderately high temperatures, and alkaline pHs. It was found that these denaturing
agents and conditions have little effect on penicillin activity in the absence of
protein, but that the apparent activity is rapidly lost when human serum albumin is
added. Studies are still in progress to determine if this is an actual destruction
of penicillin, or is due to association of the penicillin molecules with the relatively
large non-diffusible albumin molecules. This is being determined by studies on the
amount of penicillin excreted from injected rabbits. Results obtained so far are not
conclusive, but indicate that serum albumin actually inactivates the penicillin.
Dan H. Campbell
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