cephalo = origin unclear, named after the fungus from which they were first isolated, previously called Cephalosporium. Gr. spora = sowing or seed.

Cephalosporins are a group of antibiotics which are of the class of beta-lactam antibiotics, containing a beta-lactam ring. The first cephalosporin was isolated from a fungus, Cephalosporium, which releases “spores” (sporin), in order to sow its genes around. So “sporin” reminds you of its fungal origin.

Memory trick: Its unclear where the “cephalo” stem comes from, however it reminds me of the brain (see also: cephalization, encephalopathy, etc). Of the cephalosporins, only 3rd generation drugs cross the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) in high doses, so when we see “cephalo” we can think that it gets into the “brain”, but only 3rd generation (there are 3 B’s in BBB = blood brain barrier).

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