The 21st Show

Moldy Mary And Illinois’ State Microbe


In August, Governor JB Pritzker declared Penicillium Rubens —a mold that produces penicillin—as the official state microbe. Peoria played a crucial role in the mass production of penicillin, the most widely used antibiotic in the world, and it may have not been possible without the help of Mary Hunt, known as Moldy Mary. We were joined by a Peoria archivist and a research chemist talk about the history and woman behind the pronouncement.


Pat Dowd

Research Entomologist and archivist at the USDA ARS lab in Peoria

Chris Farris 

Archivist, Peoria Public Library

Neil Price

Research Chemist at the USDA ARS lab in Peoria



Prepared for web by Owen Henderson

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