adj 1: of or relating to antibiotic drugs n 1: a chemical substance derivable from a mold or bacterium that can kill microorganisms and cure bacterial infections; "when antibiotics were first discovered they were called wonder drugs" [syn: antibiotic, antibiotic drug]
I. adjectiveDate: 1894 1. tending to prevent, inhibit, or destroy life 2. of or relating to antibiotics or to antibiosis • antibioticallyadverbII. nounDate: 1943 a substance produced by or a semisynthetic substance derived from a microorganism and able in dilute solution to inhibit or kill another microorganism
Chemical substance that in dilute solutions can inhibit the growth of microorganisms or destroy them with little or no harm to the infected host. Early antibiotics were natural microbial products, but chemists have modified the structures of many to produce semisynthetic and even wholly synthetic ones. Since the discovery of penicillin (1928), antibiotics have revolutionized the treatment of bacterial, fungal, and some other diseases. They are produced by many actinomycetes (e.g., streptomycin, tetracycline) and other bacteria (e.g., polypeptides such as bacitracin) and by fungi (e.g., penicillin). Antibiotics may be broad-spectrum (active against a wide range of pathogens) or specific (active against one, or one class). Drawbacks include activity against beneficial microorganisms, often causing diarrhea; allergies; and development of drug resistant strains of the targeted microorganisms.
n. & adj. Pharm. --n. any of various substances (e.g. penicillin) produced by micro-organisms or made synthetically, that can inhibit or destroy susceptible micro-organisms. --adj. functioning as an antibiotic. Etymology: F antibiotique (as ANTI-, Gk biotikos fit for life f. bios life)