chemical compound

Tetracycline is a family of antibiotics discovered as natural products in 1945. It is a broad-spectrum antibiotic because it works against a range of bacteria.

Structure of tetracycline

Tetracyclines was first prescribed in 1948.[1][2] It is produced naturally by the Streptomyces genus of Actinobacteria. It is a protein synthesis inhibitor.

In 1950, Harvard University professor Robert Burns Woodward worked out the chemical structure of the related oxytetracycline (Terramycin). The patent protection for its production was also first issued in 1950.

Tetracycline is an antibiotic used to treat a number of bacterial infections. It is commonly used to treat acne and rosacea. Historically it was important in reducing the number of deaths from cholera. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.[3]


  1. Klajn, Rafal, Chemistry and chemical biology of tetracyclines, retrieved 20 June 2007.
  2. Jukes, Thomas H. Some historical notes on chlortetracycline. Reviews of Infectious Diseases 7(5):702-707 (1985).
  3. "WHO Model List of EssentialMedicines" (PDF). World Health Organization. October 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2014.