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streptomycin, streptomycin sulfate
84% to 88% IM est1

0% by mouth Biological half-life 5 to 6 hours Excretion kidney Identifiers IUPAC name CAS Number
  • 57-92-1 Y
PubChem CID
  • 19649
  • DB01082 Y
  • 18508 Y
  • Y45QSO73OB
  • D08531 Y
  • CHEBI:17076 Y
  • CHEMBL1201194 N
  • 07346
PDB ligand
ECHA InfoCard 100000323 Chemical and physical data Formula C21H39N7O12 Molar mass 581574 g/mol 3D model JSmol
  • Interactive image
Melting point 12 °C 54 °F SMILES InChI  NY what is this  verify

Streptomycin is an antibiotic used to treat a number of bacterial infections This includes tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium complex, endocarditis, brucellosis, Burkholderia infection, plague, tularemia, and rat bite fever2 For active tuberculosis it is often given together with isoniazid, rifampicin, and pyrazinamide3 It is given by injection into a vein or muscle2

Common side effects include feeling like the world is spinning, vomiting, numbness of the face, fever, and rash Use during pregnancy may result in permanent deafness in the baby2 Use appears to be safe while breastfeeding3 It is not recommended in people with myasthenia gravis3 Streptomycin is in the aminoglycoside class of medication It works by blocking the ability of 30S ribosomal subunits to make proteins which results in bacterial death2

Streptomycin was discovered in 1943 from Streptomyces griseus45 It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system6 The wholesale cost in the developing world is between 038 and 439 USD per day7 In the United States a course of treatment costs more than 200 USD8


  • 1 Uses
    • 11 Medication
    • 12 Pesticide
    • 13 Cell culture
    • 14 Protein purification
  • 2 Spectrum of activity
  • 3 Side effects
  • 4 Mechanism of action
  • 5 History
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 Further reading



  • Infective endocarditis caused by enterococcus when the organism is not sensitive to gentamicin
  • Tuberculosis in combination with other antibiotics For active tuberculosis it is often given together with isoniazid, rifampicin, and pyrazinamide3 It is not the first-line treatment, except in medically under-served populations where the cost of more expensive treatments is prohibitive It may be useful in cases where resistance to other drugs is identified
  • Plague Yersinia pestis has historically been treated with it as the first-line treatment However streptomycin is approved for this purpose only by the US Food and Drug Administration
  • In veterinary medicine, streptomycin is the first-line antibiotic for use against gram negative bacteria in large animals horses, cattle, sheep, etc It is commonly combined with procaine penicillin for intramuscular injection
  • Tularemia infections have been treated mostly with streptomycin

Streptomycin is traditionally given intramuscularly, and in many nations is only licensed to be administered intramuscularly, though in some regions the drug may also be administered intravenously1


Streptomycin also is used as a pesticide, to combat the growth of bacteria beyond human applications Streptomycin controls bacterial diseases of certain fruit, vegetables, seed, and ornamental crops A major use is in the control of fireblight on apple and pear trees As in medical applications, extensive use can be associated with the development of resistant strains Streptomycin could potentially be used to control cyanobacterial blooms in ornamental ponds and aquaria9 While some antibacterial antibiotics are inhibitory to certain eukaryotes, this seems not to be the case for streptomycin, especially in the case of anti-fungal activity10

Cell cultureedit

Streptomycin, in combination with penicillin, is used in a standard antibiotic cocktail to prevent bacterial infection in cell culture

Protein purificationedit

When purifying protein from a biological extract, streptomycin sulfate is sometimes added as a means of removing nucleic acids Since it binds to ribosomes and precipitates out of solution, it serves as a method for removing rRNA, mRNA, and even DNA if the extract is from a prokaryote

Spectrum of activityedit

Streptomycin can be used clinically to treat tuberculosis in combination with other medications and susceptible strains which cause bacterial endocarditis The following represents MIC susceptibility for a few medically significant microorganisms

  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis: 1 μg/ml - 2 μg/ml
  • Staphylococcus aureus: 4 μg/ml


Side effectsedit

The most concerning side effects, as with other aminoglycosides, are nephrotoxicity and ototoxicity13 Transient or permanent deafness may result The vestibular portion of cranial nerve VIII the vestibulococlear nerve can be affected, resulting in tinnitus, vertigo and ataxia Nephrotoxicity and can potentially interfere with diagnosis of kidney malfunction14

Common side effects include feeling like the world spinning, vomiting, numbness of the face, fever, and rash Fever and rashes may result from persistent use

Use is not recommended during pregnancy2 Use appears to be okay while breastfeeding3

It is not recommended in people with myasthenia gravis3

Mechanism of actionedit

Streptomycin is a protein synthesis inhibitor It binds to the small 16S rRNA of the 30S subunit of the bacterial ribosome, interfering with the binding of formyl-methionyl-tRNA to the 30S subunit15 This leads to codon misreading, eventual inhibition of protein synthesis and ultimately death of microbial cells through mechanisms that are still not understood Speculation on this mechanism indicates that the binding of the molecule to the 30S subunit interferes with 50S subunit association with the mRNA strand This results in an unstable ribosomal-mRNA complex, leading to a frameshift mutation and defective protein synthesis; leading to cell death16 Humans have ribosomes which are structurally different from those in bacteria, so the drug does not have this effect in human cells At low concentrations, however, streptomycin only inhibits growth of the bacteria by inducing prokaryotic ribosomes to misread mRNA17 Streptomycin is an antibiotic that inhibits both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria,18 and is therefore a useful broad-spectrum antibiotic


Streptomycin was first isolated on October 19, 1943, by Albert Schatz, a PhD student in the laboratory of Selman Abraham Waksman at Rutgers University in a research project funded by Merck and Co1920 Waksman and his laboratory staff discovered several antibiotics, including actinomycin, clavacin, streptothricin, streptomycin, grisein, neomycin, fradicin, candicidin, and candidin Of these, streptomycin and neomycin found extensive application in the treatment of numerous infectious diseases Streptomycin was the first antibiotic cure for tuberculosis TB In 1952 Waksman was the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in recognition "for his discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic active against tuberculosis"21 Waksman was later accused of playing down the role of Schatz who did the work under his supervision22232425

At the end of World War II, the United States Army experimented with streptomycin to treat life-threatening infections at a military hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan The first patient treated did not survive; the second patient survived but became blind as a side effect of the treatment In March 1946, the third patient—Robert J Dole, later Majority Leader of the United States Senate and Presidential nominee—experienced a rapid and robust recovery26

The first randomized trial of streptomycin against pulmonary tuberculosis was carried out in 1946 through 1948 by the MRC Tuberculosis Research Unit under the chairmanship of Geoffrey Marshall 1887–1982 The trial was both double-blind and placebo-controlled It is widely accepted to have been the first randomised curative trial27

Results showed efficacy against TB, albeit with minor toxicity and acquired bacterial resistance to the drug28

See alsoedit

  • Philip D'Arcy Hart - The British medical researcher and pioneer in tuberculosis treatment in the early twentieth century


  1. ^ a b Zhu M, Burman WJ, Jaresko GS, Berning SE, Jelliffe RW, Peloquin CA October 2001 "Population pharmacokinetics of intravenous and intramuscular streptomycin in patients with tuberculosis" Pharmacother 21 9: 1037–1045 PMID 11560193 doi:101592/phco2113103734625 Retrieved 2010-05-25 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Streptomycin Sulfate" The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Retrieved 8 December 2016 
  3. ^ a b c d e f WHO Model Formulary 2008 PDF World Health Organization 2009 pp 136, 144, 609 ISBN 9789241547659 Retrieved 8 December 2016 
  4. ^ Torok, Estee; Moran, Ed; Cooke, Fiona 2009 Oxford Handbook of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology OUP Oxford p Chapter 2 ISBN 9780191039621 
  5. ^ Renneberg, Reinhard; Demain, Arnold L 2008 Biotechnology for Beginners Elsevier p 103 ISBN 9780123735812 
  6. ^ "WHO Model List of Essential Medicines 19th List" PDF World Health Organization April 2015 Retrieved 8 December 2016 
  7. ^ "Streptomycin Sulfate" International Drug Price Indicator Guide Retrieved 8 December 2016 
  8. ^ Hamilton, Richart 2015 Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopoeia 2015 Deluxe Lab-Coat Edition Jones & Bartlett Learning p 36 ISBN 9781284057560 
  9. ^ Qian, H, Li, J, Pan, X, Sun, Z, Ye, C, Jin, G, & Fu, Z 2012 "Effects of streptomycin on growth of algae Chlorella vulgaris and Microcystis aeruginosa" Environmental Toxicology 274: 229–237 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list link
  10. ^ Reilly, H C, Schatz, A, & Waksman, S A 1945 "Antifungal properties of antibiotic substances" Journal of Bacteriology, 496: 585–594 CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list link
  11. ^ http://antibioticstoku-ecom/antimicrobial_1099_1html
  12. ^ http://wwwtoku-ecom/Assets/MIC/Streptomycin%20sulfatepdf
  13. ^ http://thoraxbmjcom/content/65/7/654full
  14. ^ Syal K, Srinivasan A, Banerjee D 2013 "Streptomycin interference in Jaffe reaction — Possible false positive creatinine estimation in excessive dose exposure" Clinical Biochemistry 46: 177–179 
  15. ^ Sharma D, Cukras AR, Rogers EJ, Southworth DR, Green R 7 December 2007 "Mutational analysis of S12 protein and implications for the accuracy of decoding by the ribosome" Journal of Molecular Biology 374 4: 1065–76 PMC 2200631  PMID 17967466 doi:101016/jjmb200710003 
  16. ^ Raymon, Lionel P 2011 COMLEX Level 1 Pharmacology Lecture Notes Miami, FL: Kaplan, Inc p 181 CM4024K 
  17. ^ Voet, Donald & Voet, Judith G 2004 Biochemistry 3rd ed John Wiley & Sons p 1341 ISBN 0-471-19350-X 
  18. ^ Jan-Thorsten Schantz; Kee-Woei Ng 2004 A manual for primary human cell culture World Scientific p 89 
  19. ^ Comroe JH Jr 1978 "Pay dirt: the story of streptomycin Part I: from Waksman to Waksman" American Review of Respiratory Disease 117 4: 773–781 PMID 417651 
  20. ^ Kingston W July 2004 "Streptomycin, Schatz v Waksman, and the balance of credit for discovery" J Hist Med Allied Sci 59 3: 441–62 PMID 15270337 doi:101093/jhmas/jrh091 
  21. ^ Official list of Nobel Prize Laureates in Medicine
  22. ^ Wainwright, M 1990 Miracle Cure: The Story of Penicillin and the Golden Age of Antibiotics Blackwell ISBN 9780631164920 Retrieved 2014-12-29 
  23. ^ Wainwright, M 1991 "Streptomycin: discovery and resultant controversy" Journal of the History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 13: 97–124 
  24. ^ Kingston, William 2004-07-01 "Streptomycin, Schatz v Waksman, and the balance of credit for discovery" Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 59 3: 441–462 ISSN 0022-5045 PMID 15270337 doi:101093/jhmas/jrh091 
  25. ^ Pringle, Peter 2012 Experiment Eleven: Dark Secrets Behind the Discovery of a Wonder Drug New York: Walker & Company ISBN 978-1620401989 
  26. ^ Cramer, Richard Ben, What It Takes New York, 1992, pp 110-11
  27. ^ Metcalfe NH February 2011 "Sir Geoffrey Marshall 1887-1982: respiratory physician, catalyst for anaesthesia development, doctor to both Prime Minister and King, and World War I Barge Commander" J Med Biogr 19 1: 10–4 PMID 21350072 doi:101258/jmb2010010019 
  28. ^ D'Arcy Hart P August 1999 "A change in scientific approach: from alternation to randomised allocation in clinical trials in the 1940s" British Medical Journal 319 7209: 572–3 PMC 1116443  PMID 10463905 doi:101136/bmj3197209572 

Further readingedit

  • "Notebooks Shed Light on an Antibiotic's Contested Discovery," New York Times, June 12, 2012, by Peter Pringle
  • Streptomycin bound to proteins in the PDB
  • Kingston, William 2004 "Streptomycin, Schatz v Waksman, and the Balance of Credit for Discovery" Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 59 3: 441–462 PMID 15270337 doi:101093/jhmas/jrh091 
  • Mistiaen, Veronique 2 November 2002 "Time, and the great healer" The Guardian  The history behind the discovery of streptomycin
  • EPA RED Facts sheet on use of streptomycin as a pesticide

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