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Podbielniak extractor, England, 1965-1975

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Substances for biotechnology research were separated and fermented using this centrifuge. It was used by scientists at the Imperial College of Science & Technology in London. The machine extracts a pure substance in one solution from an impure mixture in another liquid. It mixes the liquids to enable the pure substance to be transferred. It then spins them very fast to separate them. This extractor was installed in the fermentation pilot plant. The plant was established by Sir Ernst Chain at Imperial College. It was used later by Imperial Biotechnology Ltd. Podbielniak separators were considered crucial to biological warfare. The US banned their export to then-Communist Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. The ban was controversial because they were actually developed to separate medicines such as penicillin.

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Glossary: biotechnology

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Glossary: centrifuge

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