Sixty years ago, the deliberate testing and analysis of soil samples netted two women — Elizabeth Hazen and Rachel Brown — the discovery of nystatin, the first useful antifungal antibiotic. Its producer, found residing in soil collected near a cow pasture, was a newly-identified member of the Streptomycetes, named Streptomyces noursei in honor of the owner of the pasture, a Mr. Nourse.
Their discovery is appropriately celebrated in a blog that focuses on the actinomycetes and that we are very fond of: Twisted Bacteria. In the author’s words: This post modestly celebrates March 8th, International Women's Day. The discovery of nystatin seems a good example of an important contribution of women scientists to microbiology, natural product chemistry, and medicine.
Women were well represented among the early discoverers of antibiotics, with cycloheximide and fosfomycin (and probably others) also to their credit. You can find additional links on the subject of women in microbiology in that celebratory post. We join the author, César Sánchez, in this salute.