Currently Available Antibiotics List: Their Origin and Year of Isolation

What is an antimicrobial/ antibiotic?

Many of people will be familiar with these terms antimicrobial or antibiotic as they may be treated with some antimicrobial or antibiotic when they got sick or developed any bacterial infection. In general terms it is the ability of any substance to kill or inhibit the bacteria but the exact definition and antibiotics list is discussed in detail.

antibiotics list

Human history has witnessed various bacterial outbreaks like black death (1346-1353) resulting in millions of deaths. After discovery of bacteria by scientists a lot of antibiotics were discovered to kill them and treated deadly infections for decades but after excessive use of antibiotics over last few decades bacteria are becoming resistant against available antibiotics and as a result of this threatening phenomenon we will be left with fewer treatment options which are getting ineffective day by day.

On the other hand, their lack of new drug discovery. Therefore, antibiotic resistance and lack of antibiotic discovery threatens global effors to reduce antibiotic resistance and emergence of multidrug resistance in deadly bacteria. To develop basic understanding about antibiotics ,discovered so far, here is quick review of available antibiotics list along with their source of production and year of isolation. The detail is as under

Antimicrobial definition:

Antimicrobials are mostly isolated from medicinal plants and fungi however, their are a lot of antibiotics or drugs developed synthetically. Antimicrobial is a broader term referring to any substance that can affect microbial life, including synthetic and semi synthetic compounds and substances without selective toxicity (e.g. biocides). Some of the most toxic substances in the world 0.001-4 mg/L have an effect, but in therapeutic doses they do not harm the host and they have minimum effects on eukaryotic cells.

Antibiotic definition:

Antibiotic is a substance produced by a microorganism, that has the capacity to selectively inhibit or kill other microorganisms (Paul Vuillemin, 1941). Antibiotic is the type of antimicrobial which has ability to kill bacteria.

drug classes

What is the use of antimicrobial/ antibiotic?

Use of antimicrobials in humans

Antimicrobials or antibiotics are (should be) used in humans mainly to kill or inhibit harmful bacteria that cause infection and disease .The CDC estimates that about one-third of the 150 million outpatient prescriptions for antibiotics every year are unnecessary.

Use of antimicrobials in animals

Therapeutic use:

Antimicrobials or antibiotics are (should be) used to treat sick animals mainly to treat infections and reduce economic losses due to mortality.

Prophylactic / Metaphylactic use:

Antimicrobials or antibiotics are also to prevent infection in animals and gain high production benefit which is not recommended due to its contribution in antimicrobial resistance by the phenomenon called selection pressure.

Growth promoters

Moreover, Antimicrobials or antibiotics are also used as a supplement in animal feed in sub-therapeutic concentrations to improve feed utilization, production and enhance economic returns to farmers and control chronic diseases in intensively-reared animal.

antibiotics classification

Classification of antimicrobials/ Antibiotics List

Antimicrobials or antibiotics are mainly classified on different basis

  • Based on chemical structure
  • Based on target organisms
  1. Antiviral
  2. Antibacterial
  3. Antifungal
  4. Antiparasitic

Based on antimicrobial activity

  1. Bactericidal
  2. Bacteriostatic

Spectrum of activity

  1. Narrow
  2. Broad             

 Note: Sulfonamides are both antibacterial and antiparasitic

antibiotic list
Antibiotics List or Classification
ClassAntimicrobial agentsProducing organismsYear of isolation
ß-lactamsNatural penicillinsPenicillium notatum, P. chrysogenum, Cephalosporium acremonium1929, 1940
 Cephalosporin CStreptomyces cattleya Gluconobacter spp.1945-53
 Imipenem AztreonamChromobacterium violaceum1976 1981
GlycopeptidesVancomycin Teicoplanin, avoparcinAmycolapsis orientalis Amycolapsis coloradensis subsp labedaMid[1]1950s, 1975
MacrolidesErythromycin SpramycinStreptomyces erythraeus Streptomyces ambofaciens1952-1955
LincosamidesLincomycinStreptomyces lincolnensis1963
StreptograminsStreptogramins A and B Virginiamycins A and BStreptomyces diastaticus Streptomyces virginiae1953 1955
TetracyclinesChlortetracycline OxytetracyclineStreptomyces aureofaciens Streptomyces rimosus1948
PhenicolsChloramphenicolStreptomyces venezuelae1947
AminoglycosideStreptomycin Neomycin Kanamycin Gentamicin TobramycinStreptomyces griseus Streptomyces fradiae Streptomyces kanamyceticus Micromonospora purpurea Streptomyces tenebrarius1943,1949,1957,1963,1967
AminocyclitolsSpectinomycinStreptomyces spectabilis1961
PleuromutilinsTiamulinPleurotus spp 
Polypeptide antibioticPolymyxin B Polymyxin E (colistin) BacitracinBacillus polymyxa (aerosporus) Bacillus polymyxa subsp colistinus Bacillus licheniformis1947 1949 1943
SulfonamidesProntosil, sulfametoxazole, etc.Synthetic1935
QuinolonesNalidixic acidSynthetic1962
FluoroquinolonesCiprofloxacin, Levofloxacin, etc.Synthetic1973
Antimicrobial or antibiotics list (Origin of antimicrobial classes)

antibiotic classification

Bactericidal vs bacteriostatic drugs

Bactericidal drugs are recommended in life threatening infections where the immune system is unable to remove bacteria (e.g. endocarditis) and in immuno-compromised patients.Some drugs may be bactericidal or bacteriostatic depending on drug concentration, presence of other drugs, bacterial species.

AminoglycosidesStreptomyces, Micromonospora spp.Bactericidal
CephalosporinsCephalosporium spp.Bactericidal
MacrolidesVarious ActinomycetesBacteriostatic
PenicillinsPenicillium spBactericidal
PhenicolsStreptomyces venezuelaeBacteriostatic
RifamycinsAmycolapsis mediterraneiBactericidal
TetracyclinesStreptomyces spp.Bacteriostatic
Antibiotics list (Bactericidal vs Bacteriostatic antimicrobial)

antibiotic source

Antimicrobial effect vs PK/PD parameters

Pharmacodynamics (PD)

  • Mechanisms for killing or inhibiting growth
  • Time-dependent/concentration-dependent
  • MIC – Minimum inhibitory concentration
  • MBC – Minimum bactericidal concentration

Pharmacokinetics (PK)

Depend on route of administration, formulation, drug absorption, distribution, elimination, bioavailability

  • Cmax (mg/mL) – maximal concentration in plasma
  • Tmax (h) – time at Cmax
  • t1/2 (h) – half-life • AUC LOQ (mg.h/mL) area under curve
Determine MIC and MBC of bacteriostatic drugs

Use of associations of antimicrobials

  • Increase efficacy
  • Increase spectrum
  • Synergic effect
  • Not always beneficial, some combinations might be reducing efficacy: – E.g. bactericidal drug need microbial growth to act
  • Antagonism (Bacteriostatic drug stop growth)

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