Historical Article: Antibiotics

Link to 1952 NY Times article

-Antibiotics, Found to Stimulate the Growth Of Animals, Are Tested on Plants Also

This article from the 1952 New York Times describes how scientists were discovering correlations between the growth of livestock and the amount of antibiotics they were being treated with. Armed with this knowledge and eager to test the limits of antibiotics, these scientists applied their discoveries to the development of improved crops. They found that, on average, antibiotic treated plants were at least 3 inches taller than normal crops and almost twice as heavy. At the time there were a lot of theories flying around as to why this was happening. No one at the time really knew, but the public understood that antibiotics were useful for more than preventing infection, they were super drugs! This perception of antibiotics has followed us into modern times, where people still believe than many of their health issues can be solved by asking their doctors for antibiotics.

As a little afterthought, did no one question the effect of antibiotic growth on humans? What if antibiotics is a factor in the obesity problem in America?

-Connor Hill



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