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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2004;58:1-42.

Pickles, pectin, and penicillin.

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Charles A. Dana Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti (R.I.S.E), Drew University, Madison, New Jersey 07940, USA.


My professional life has been devoted to the study of microbial products and their biosynthesis, regulation, and overproduction. These have included primary metabolites (glutamic acid, tryptophan, inosinic acid, guanylic acid, vitamin B(12), riboflavin, pantothenic acid, ethanol, and lactic acid) and secondary metabolites (penicillin, cephalosporins, streptomycin, fosfomycin, gramicidin S, rapamycin, indolmycin, microcin B17, fumagillin, mycotoxins, Monascus pigments, and tetramethylpyrazine). Other areas included microbial nutrition, strain improvement, bioconversions of statins and beta-lactams, sporulation and germination, plasmid stability, gel microdroplets, and the production of double-stranded RNA, the polymer xanthan, and enzymes (polygalacturonase, protease, cellulase). Most of the studies were carried out with me by devoted and hardworking industrial scientists for 15 years at Merck & Co. and by similarly characterized students, postdoctorals, and visiting scientists during my 32 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I owe much of my success to my mentors from academia and industry. My recent research activities with undergraduate students at the Charles A. Dana Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti (R.I.S.E.) at Drew University have been very rewarding and are allowing me to continue my career.

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