Science: Antibiotic for Plants

Scientists often reach worthwhile goals by setting off in the wrong direction. Dr. Alma J. Whiffen of the Upjohn Co. did just that, several years ago. She noticed that Streptomyces griseus, the mold that produces bacteria-killing streptomycin, also produces a substance that is deadly to fungi. She separated it from the "beers" (solution in which the mold had been growing), called it "actidione," and tried it on fungi that cause human diseases.

As a drug to cure human ailments, it proved worthless. The Upjohn Co. gave the new drug to the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station at East Lansing to see what effect...

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