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Edit of Apr 2004[edit]

Fit in the text how it was finally used for the first time to treat disease. Delta G 13:01, 2 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Sickle Cell Disease[edit]

Penicillin is used as a preventiv agent in Sickle Cell Disease i.e. to prevent bacterial infection that comes along with the more infection-susceptible state in Sickle Cell Disease. Penicillin is not a chemotherpeutic agent AGAINST Sickle Cell Disease, which might be dedcuted from the first line in this wikipedia-entry.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 10:27, 26 January 2005

Clinical Treatment Info[edit]

This article could benefit from including penicillin treatment guidelines...what specific diseases (above and beyond just the microbiology), strengths, frequencies, routes of administration, duration of therapy, etc. FDA-approved indications (for US only) would also be useful. Thoughts? --Piewalker 16:38, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

First successful use[edit]

There is a fuller description of discoveries at Alexander Fleming. The 2 people mentioned here can not both have been first, anyway. Perhaps a subpage?DanielDemaret 08:56, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

I could only find one source—that was not a copy of the existing Wikipedia entry—that claimed successful use of penicillin by Fleming (and it lists a different year, 1932 vs. 1933). Fleming’s Nobel Prize bio does not mention any such use, and according to the paper Post Penicillin Antibiotics Fleming and Rogers did not work together until 1935.
The source sited in the Fleming article, only uses the phrase “probably the first” to describe his treatment with penicillin, and does not give a year. All of this suggests that the 1930s claim was either seen as apocryphal or inconclusive by the medical community, whereas the 1942-03-14 case was widely sited, and led the way for successful use of penicillin in WWII. —MJBurrageTALK • 05:31, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Autoimune Effects[edit]

In the Esperanto version of this article, there is a paragraph about autoimune effects of penicillin. Is this real or should the paragraph be removed? --F3meyer 16:18, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Split suggestion[edit]

A sugegstion (you mean suggestion) to split the specific drugs penicillin from the details & history of the group of antiobtics (you mean antibiotics)(the Penicillins):

  • Just as tetracycline is one member of the tetracycline antibiotics group and each have their own articles, should Benzylpenicillin and Phenoxymethylpenicillin have their own articles ?
  • This article covering history, development, resistance, members of the group & manufacture is already long.
  • Here in UK, Phenoxymethylpenicillin is not even the most widely used penicillin (Amoxicillin is). More and less commonly used members of the group have their own articles.

David Ruben Talk 14:21, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree, it would be good to split off some separate pages for benzylpenicillin, phenoxymethylpenicillin, procaine benzylpenicillin and benzathine benzylpencillin. -Techelf 11:47, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree each member should be split off but linked to from this page. Dryphi (talk) 21:59, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Ha ha, not funny[edit]

Who is the bonehead who decided to rewrite this page as "how are you i love you"? I'm doing a research project and can't afford this kind of silliness.-Ben 10 9:01, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

    ->With respect, if you're doing a reasearch project, you should be doing original research, and not using wikipedia.
Vandalism is quite common but useless as it is easy to revert (history tab). however it is advisable that you just ignore them. do not insult them, engage them, follow them or IP trace them. --Squidonius (talk) 17:16, 6 May 2008 (UTC)


Are allergies to penicillin and related drugs hereditary?

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 08:09, 21 November 2006

The tendancy to develop allergies is hereditary, but not the allergies themselves. In order to become allergic to something, you have to be exposed to it at least once. --ssd 16:51, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

re: Hypersensitivity and re: separate articles for the 4 forms of PCN[edit]

A tendency to allergies may be hereditary. Allergies to particular medications are not hereditary.

Phenoxymethyl-, benzyl-, procaine benzyl- and benzathine benzylpenicillin are all considered plain old "penicillin" among doctors. Separation among different pages could discount the practical conflation. They have no difference in the actual antibacterial activity of the antibiotic, only on the rates of absorption, excretion or presence of an analgesic. Furthermore, unlike tetracycline among the tetracycline group of antibiotics, if each of the four is separated to its own page, the penicillin page will describe no clinically useful penicillin. Penicillins with structures altered in order to alter their spectrum of activity (which bacteria they kill) include the aminopenicillins (amp- and amox-), anti-staphylococcal penicillins (meth-,naf-,ox-,clox-,diclox-, et al), and anti-pseudomonal penicillins (piper-, ticar-, et al). These all seem worthy of separate pages (which they have). Dyslexic3 04:43, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Creating penicilin[edit]

We should add a section to this article how to create penicilin on your own. Who knows... maybe someday someone is stuck somewhere in need of penicilin and only has the wikipedia CD on hand and a PC--Energman 22:15, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

If one is on the verge of death and all he has is Wikipedia, then that would certainly be nice, but such a thing isn't really suitable encyclopedic material. I suggest that you make a new wikibook about it and then link to it from this article. 18:53, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
I would but I don't have a clue except for the fact that you need blue-green molds. Anybody???--Energman 11:48, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

I have been trying for years to confirm a procedure for making raw penicillin. I was told to let moist bread mold. Coat a knife in the blue green mold and use the knife to break the skin of an orange. Introduce the spores into the orange. The crystal tears that the orange weeps would be raw penicillin. Anyone else?

Not funny[edit]

So I'm reading over penicillin and I come across this little tidbit:

The discovery of penicillin is usually attributed to Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming in 1928, but it was really Stephen Colbert in the late 1970's, he then utilized time travel technology to take his discovery back and save the world from a disease ridden future.

Whoever keeps doing stuff like this should really stop. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:31, 31 January 2007 (UTC).

HagermanBot, I *removed* (or at least I attempted to remove) the nonsense about Stephen Colbert. Apparently I wasn't signed-in to wikipedia at the time. *I* did not vandalize the page. I tried to fix. Before you accuse someone of vandalism, please make sure you're accusing the correct person.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Shaneatx (talkcontribs)

Penicillin production today[edit]

Something that's not clear from the article: does penicillin production still require cultivation of the mold? Or is synthesised through a purely chemical process? –Adrian J. Hunter 18:04, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

This article says that antibiotics are produced by the culture of the mold or bacteria it was found in. Seeing as Penicillin has a fairly complex molecular structure, I would say most likely it is still harvested form the mold. But then again, I'm not an expert in the field or anything. --Wertyu739 (talk) 00:43, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
In the 1980's the Swedish company Fermenta produced several types of penicillin by using genetically modified algae. That is, they took the penicillin producing genes from molds and implanted those genes into algae. They then grew the algae in large water tanks. This meant they could produce huge quantities of penicillin faster and cheaper than anyone else. (I am not entirely sure about the market share, but as I remember it: For a while in the 1980's their one factory in Strängnäs, Sweden, supplied something like 20% of the total world output of penicillin.) I have heard from people working in the medical industry here in Sweden that genetically modified algae has since then been used to produce many other kinds of medicines. (My guess is that algae are better for production for the following reasons: Fast growing, produce a lot, the algae itself and its "waste products" are not harmful to humans, and the algae are fairly big thus easy to filter out of the water to separate the medicine from the algae.)
But don't "quote me" on all this, since I am not an expert in these areas. I am just a Wikipedian living in Sweden who has read the news here over the years.
If someone could find some sources about penicillin production using genetically modified algae it could be a nice addition to the article, if algae is still used for that.
David Göthberg (talk) 11:51, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
Copied by David from Adrian's talk page, since might interest other people:
Ha, thanks Davidgothberg. That made my day! I don't remember asking the question, but your response was interesting to me nonetheless. I've read tidbits here and there about optimisation of penicillin production in fungi (which seems to be ongoing [1]), but didn't know algae were also used.
Wikipedia's coverage of industrial biotech seems to be pretty patchy. Algaculture#Other_uses is rudimentary, and we don't seem to discuss the pros and cons of different organisms for fermentation anywhere. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 08:42, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
Haha, yeah, I know the happy feeling when someone answers one of one's several years old questions here at Wikipedia. I am not sure why it is so funny, but it is. :)
And thanks for the link to algaculture. At least it confirms that algae are still used for some kind of medicine production. (Thus it seems my memory is not wrong.)
--David Göthberg (talk) 14:07, 21 June 2016 (UTC)


I'm trying to figure out the word permapen and it links here, but the page makes no other mention of it besides the redirect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 07:38, 26 March 2007

It seems Wikipedia doesn't say anything about permapen, but try here. –Adrian J. Hunter 14:19, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Adverse Drug Effects[edit]

The article notes that ≥1% of patients (greater than or equal to 1%) have adverse side effects. It seems more likely that it should be ≤ (less than or equal to). Can someone confirm either way? If it is in fact ≥, then some upper bound should be noted instead; right now the range is 1-100% as opposed to 0-1% that it likely should be. -Trevor Bekolay 16:20, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

yeah i don't know much about penicillen but i remember hearing a story about in flemming's lab when flemming was producing it his dog somehow contaminted a tennis ball (could have been something else not for certain) with penecillen and it spread all over the place? is this true? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:52, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
I am pretty sure that ≥1% means lesser than or equal to. I believe you have your signs backwards.

Not trying to be rude. If I made a mistake, I would like it to be corrected. Just trying to be helpful. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:02, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

Trevor Bekolay is correct. the greater than / less than signs are designed so that the larger side is next to the larger quantity. Think of it like an "alligator mouth" chomping down on the larger meal. Dryphi (talk) 21:55, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Badly organized lists[edit]

Why is there both a heading for Narrow Spectrum B-lactamase resistant antibiotics, and one for Narrow Spectrum Penicillinase resistant antibiotics, when the difference between the two lists lies whether they affect G+ or G- bacteria? I'd fix them but I don't have time right now-but people who don't know any better would be totally confused by the way the lists are structured.

Discovery of penicillin[edit]

The first published reference to the bacteriostatic effect of Penicillium appears to be by John Tyndall (Phil. Trans., 1876, 166, pp27-74.) It is referred to at: RayJohnstone (talk) 09:29, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Lactose intolerance[edit]

I reverted this edit which claimed that long-term use can cause lactose intolerance. Though this website states lactose intolerance can be caused by penicillin reactions. If anyone has a reliable source linking penicillin and lactose intolerance, it would be worth adding. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 15:48, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

John Sheehan or Robert Burns Woodward[edit]

In this 2007 April 10 edit by Ashujo, "the first total synthesis of penicillin" was credited to a John Sheehan of MIT, although the only John Sheehan in Wikipedia is a politician. Over a year later this 2008 October 14 by switched the credit to Robert Burns Woodward. Although Woodward is connected to penicillin, his article does not mention being the first to synthesize it. Anyone have a source for either name? —MJBurrage(TC) 18:16, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia now has an article about John C. Sheehan, and I've linked the penicillin article to that page, after Ashujo's recent edits. Graham87 05:08, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

Major revisions needed[edit]

The article reads very haltingly....the prose needs to be streamlined and focused. The first para should describe where it comes from and what it is... Needs a section on diseases treated, evolved immunity Citations need to be primary sources not other websites etc... Needs active voice....too many elliptical statements that make the article difficult to read and so on... There are many Oxfords in the world...this is not only read in England. I used to live in Oxford, Ohio, where there is a large university...

Is there uniformity in the way the penicillin are catalogued?[edit]

The penicillins Benzylpenicillin, Phenoxymethylpenicillin, Procaine and Benzathine are only listed as sections in this page, whereas the other types of penicillin (e.g amoxicllin) have their own page. Also on the template [2] does not list the aforementioned penicillins. I'm not an expert so I could have this wrong, but I would have expected to the penicillins listed above to have their own pages with reference to them from the main penicillin acticle. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dialallama (talkcontribs) 22:44, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Avram Primack (talk) 15:17, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Immunity to penicillin?[edit]

Wasn't there something that said that after using this antibiotic for over 50 years, people may become immune to it? Zaruyache (talk) 01:18, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, immunity isn't involved, but certainly bacteria have developed resistance to penicillin through a variety of pathways. MastCell Talk 19:27, 26 November 2008 (UTC)


Does "homefront" refer to the US? Is this a breach of the global perspective requirement? --Ettrig (talk) 20:05, 21 December 2008 (UTC)


There are several cases of vandalism on this page. I've removed the first instance I encountered, but there are several other oddities that I don't know how to fix. Can someone with a deeper knowledge of wiki markup fix the errors? (The second one I found was in the first paragraph of "Mass Production") Alecwh (talk) 21:04, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

I've reverted to the last version by Chemical Engineer, who was the last registered user to edit the page before you. I could have also reverted to the last version by, who was also trying to fix the vandalism, per this diff. The vandalism attack several hours ago was particularly severe, and this article doesn't seem to be well-watched, so I've semi-protected the Penicillin page for three months. All the vandalism occurred in the early morning my time, so I couldn't do anything about it until now. Graham87 03:30, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

US content[edit]

The content regarding the Americans needs pulling, why is it that so many Wiki entries seem to have paragraphs involving the US unnecessary to the main piece? One: The USA was not involved in its discovery. Two: Using WW2 penicillin production as an excuse to involve the USA in some way in the piece is extraordinary! Where are all the entries on the wonderful examples of using Penicillin as a treatment? No what do we get instead the good old USA and WW2 yet AGAIN, why do so many of these entries look like the US pulling at the skirts of discoveries from around the world like some little girl shouting "me me me!"?Twobells (talk) 08:44, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Throwing another tantrum eh twobells. It needed to be mass-produced as quickly as possible and a good place to do this was in the States. Grow up for christ sake. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:31, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Is there a difference between Penicillin versus Penicillin VK (Penicillin v potassium)?[edit]

Penicillin v potassium redirects here, but the word "potassium" does not occur in the article. --Keith111 (talk) 20:12, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

It should redirect to the phenoxymethylpenicillin article. I've fixed the target. Fvasconcellos (t·c) 20:16, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Target microbes[edit]

Hi all,

could someone with more knowledge than me add into the modes of action section which specific groups of bacteria are killed or otherwise. something like G+ form protoplasts which then die thru lysis etc..

MevKurray (talk) 04:14, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Meaning of "G" and "V" ?[edit]

I have been googling around quite a lot - and without success - to find out what the letters G and V in penicillin G and V stand for. Maybe somebody knows it and could add that information here? Thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:43, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Not sure about penicillin V, but Penicillin G gives an uncited explanation for the G. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 12:53, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

How Scarce?[edit]

The mailbox photo suggests that penicillin was available in abundant supply to civilian doctors before the end of WWII. How does this square with Harry Lime's sinister plot in postwar Vienna, portrayed in The Third Man (film)? This film, made in 1949, is only credible if penicillin was so scarce in 1949 that only the U.S. armed forces could get it. Donfbreed (talk) 10:37, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

As far as I know and also the article mentions: Penicillin first became available for civilian use in the USA in the end of WWII (spring 1945). It then took several years before it was available in the rest of the world. That's according to several sources I have seen over the years, and also according to my older German relatives who experienced it first hand. So the movie seems to be correct.
As far as I understand there were several limiting factors: It was complicated and expensive to produce. And since the US had patented the production methods no one else were allowed to produce it. So penicillin was first supplied to important persons, then the US military, then the US civilians. Then as the US ramped up production and started exporting it it went the same way in other countries: First the rich and powerful, then the soldiers, then much later the general public.
The same thing is still happening today with many new medicines and medical equipment. The availability is artificially limited due to patents. Sometimes the medicine or machine is available if you can pay enough, sometimes it is not available at all in a country since the patent owner does not produce enough and only sell it to some countries. (And refuses to give licenses to other manufacturers so it could be produced in sufficient quantities.)
--David Göthberg (talk) 12:49, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

Should this article have a chembox?[edit]

I'm wondering if addition of an instance of Template:Chembox has been discussed and rejected for some reason, or if the addition of such would be positively received by the collected editors of this article? --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 16:25, 10 April 2011 (UTC) It's a group of antibotics so the chembox is not needed — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:34, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

Need information on modern commercial production[edit]

I did not want to put this into the article as an isolated bit, but want to see some treatment of modern production in the article.

In 2011, the Bristol, Tennessee oral penicillin manufacturing plant owned by GlaxoSmithKline was sold to the Indian firm Dr. Reddy's Laboratories.(supported by following)

--User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 17:11, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

New "unethical experimentation" section[edit]

My gut feeling is that this section should go into the History of penicillin article, with a mention in the history summary in this article. I wanted to propose this and get input rather than just move it. Thanks for your input. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 03:21, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable to me. Graham87 15:32, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

First drug effective against Strep?[edit]

I don't think this is accurate. What about all the sulfa drugs? -- (talk) 04:24, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

The sulfa drugs are synthetic and were first experimented with in 1932 whereas Fleming is credited with discovering penicillin in 1928. Dryphi (talk) 21:50, 30 June 2015 (UTC)


Maybe someone should make and upload an image or table of chemical structures of different penicillins? Like the one here, but with more - flucloxacillin, oxacillin, nafcillin, etc. If not on this page, then maybe on the beta-lactams page.

Nonagonal Spider (talk) 08:57, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Additional History[edit]

It should be noted in the history section that penicillin was not patented by the UK team due to their desire to ensure it was available to anyone that needed it. Unfortunately, individuals in the US patented it and then demanded royalties from anyone producing it including the very team that is credited with discovering it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:37, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

All above is totally false. And it was discovered by a Brazilian, not some ukasian. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:26, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Mech of action images[edit]

Obviously I'm biased as the creator of the image, but I'd prefer to keep the 2nd image in unless there is a particular reason to remove it. If nothing else, it's a useful link to the more detailed discussion of penicillin's mechanism of action found in the image description and in the other pages that can be found via the "File usage" section for the image. mcs (talk) 11:53, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

I think the article looks better without it. There are a lot of images in this article, too many I think, and I just don't think that one adds a lot to the article; mainly because it is very difficult/impossible to view at the current resolution. Would it not be better to add Penicillin binding proteins and a different caption to the first image? That first image is clear and offers a lot. - Shudde talk 12:15, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Adverse effects[edit]

What does "especially in epileptics" mean? Especially in epileptic people, right? (talk) 14:22, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Yes, thanks for pointing this out. I've changed it to use people-first language, which makes it clearer. Graham87 01:44, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Factual accuracy[edit]

The article presents a long list of people observing bacterial growth being inhibited by molds. But there is not evidence presented that any of this has anything to do with penicillin.

Not all molds produce penicillin. Not even all Penicillium strains do. If they do demonstrate antibacterial activity, it is in many cases due to antimicrobial substances other than penicillin. And after searching for 45 minutes, I've found no references anywhere stating that Penicillium glaucum is a penicillin producer.

Its an interesting history, but none of the information in the article persuasively demonstrates that Fleming was not the first to demonstrate the antibacterial activity of what is now known as penicillin. The weight given to these early observations should be adjusted, as should the articles tone of skepticism regarding Fleming's role as the first to unambiguously identify the antibacterial properties of the title compound. I think its fine to mention these other things and say that penicillin might have been involved. Formerly 98 (talk) 02:18, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Mary Hunt[edit]

Mary Hunt's role in identifying a superior penicillin strain should be mentioned in this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Avon John (talkcontribs) 11:34, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Wrong Fact[edit]


"Picado reported his discovery to the Paris Academy of Sciences, yet did not patent it,[24] even though his investigations started years before Fleming's."

Notes: 24. Alexander Fleming (1881–1955):

From website/source: Talking about Fleming, not Picado... "He did not patent his discovery, preferring that all would benefit from it." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:58, 31 July 2014 (UTC)


Scotland has not yet seceded from Britain. May be Wikipedia is trying to overtake chronology and insert dubious words.

QUOTE: Scottish scientist and Nobel laureate Alexander Fleming in 1928.END of QUOTE

Every national is connected to his country name, and not to his province name, in world history. Typical Wikipedia standards. Even if Scotland does secede, the Fleming was a British citizen, then and always. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:14, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

The United Kingdom is a union of countries, i.e Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. National identity is by far inconsistent throughout the UK, this is particularly true in Scotland and N. Ireland. 62% of Scottish people describe their national identity as 'Scottish Only' and very very few would feel themselves British enough to describe themselves as 'British' over 'Scottish'. In a legal definition (in most cases) he would be a British citizen, however in actual terms he would very likely be referred to as and considered himself as Scottish. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Liambrodie (talkcontribs) 15:29, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

Spectrum of Activity[edit]

These antibiotic pages in general, and the penicillin pages in particular, are very inconsistent. Ideally, the antibiotic spectrum of activity and major use should be within the introductory paragraph of every antibiotic. For instance all of these penicillin pages (oxacillin, nafcillin, etc) should list that they are (mainly or only) active against gram positive organisms. These pages should also list whether the antibiotic is "broad spectrum" (active against both gram positive and gram negative). Effectiveness for treating anaerobic and/or gram negative organisms should also be disclosed. Finally, activity against pseudomonas species would be nice. Dryphi (talk) 14:30, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

List of Penicillins[edit]

Can we add a list of all the various penicillins, with a link to their respective pages? That would be helpful. Dryphi (talk) 22:10, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Medical uses section[edit]

I don't think this section is very useful. It doesn't explain clearly what the medical uses of penicillin are. What do others think? (talk) 19:21, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

Chain & Florey[edit]

We mention the contribution of these and others in the history section. I've just reverted a badly-formatted addition of these names, but perhaps it is only fair to the IP editor to discuss their good-faith additions here. Which are the best references that deal with individual contributions? Dbfirs 08:27, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

I've blocked them for continuing to act like a proverbial bull in a china shop. Graham87 14:48, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Yes, was rather persistent without providing any references. We'll leave the article as it is. I don't think it mis-represents the Chain & Florey contributions. IP (also from Israel) seems to be a sockpuppet in adding the same material to Alexander Fleming. Is there some Zionist agenda? Dbfirs 19:09, 27 December 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the note; I've reverted their edits there, but don't see the point of blocking that IP. They're adding references, butin edit summaries, and very cursory ones at that. I didn't think of the Zionist agenda angle ... very strange. Graham87 04:33, 28 December 2016 (UTC)