The history of lysozyme

The antibacterial property of chicken egg white, which can be attributed to lysozyme, was first described by Lashchenko in 1909. However, the term "lysozyme" was not coined until 1922 by Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), who thus gave the enzyme a name. He observed the antibacterial effect of lysozyme in nasal secretions on the bacterium Micrococcus lysodeikticus.

The accidental discovery of lysozyme by Fleming

Like many great discoveries, the discovery of lysozyme began with an accident and the astute observation of Alexander Fleming. In 1922, he was going about his work as usual as a doctor and researcher at Saint Mary's Hospital in London when two coincidences coincided.

He had a severe cold and also forgot to dispose of a bacterial culture medium in a Petri dish. A yellow colony of bacteria had formed in the Petri dish. Some nasal secretion fell on the bacterial colony. Some time later, he observed that the bacteria had dissolved at the spot where the nasal secretion had dropped.

The first antibacterial substance had been found. It is an enzyme that can cleave the cell walls of bacteria. It was called lysozyme, (from lysis = to dissolve and zym, because it is an enzyme). Lysozyme has been found not only in nasal secretions but also in tear fluid. It is also found in milk, blood, leucocytes, sperm, breast milk and in particularly high concentrations in chicken egg white. 

Fleming began to examine more closely the tear fluid that volunteers donated to him after they were stimulated to release tear fluid with a few squirts of citric acid. This in turn earned him a cartoon in the hospital newspaper. It showed children coming into Fleming's lab for a few pennies, where one attendant was giving them strokes and another was collecting the tears.

Fleming realised that lysozyme prevents microbes from entering the body.

The lysozyme acts even before the bacteria can enter the organism. Example: A permanent moistening of the eyes with tear fluid (contains muramidase), largely ensures that no bacteria penetrate via the mucous membranes in the eye area. Bacteria that are on the surface of the eye are immediately dissolved and decomposed by the lysozyme. 

Skin protection

The physical barrier of healthy skin consists of the stratum corneum and, in the mucosa, the mucus layer. Desquamation and mucus secretion lead to the constant renewal of the surfaces and thus at the same time to the continuous removal of microorganisms that are located on the surfaces and want to penetrate. In addition, a distinct lipid barrier in the skin normally impedes and prevents the penetration of microorganisms into the living epidermis.

However, the formation of an intact physical barrier is not sufficient for a successful infection defence of the healthy skin and mucosa. Other factors must be added. These include the body's own antibiotics, the antimicrobial peptides, such as lysozyme.


We would like to point out that not all statements are accepted by orthodox medicine due to the lack of placebo-controlled clinical studies.


Die physikalische Barriere der gesunden Haut besteht aus dem Stratum corneum und in der Mukosa aus der Schleimschicht. Abschuppung und Schleimabsonderung führen zur ständigen Erneuerung der Oberflächen und damit gleichzeitig zu einer kontinuierlichen Entfernung von Mikroorganismen, die an den Oberflächen sitzen und eindringen wollen. Zusätzlich erschwert und verhindert eine ausgeprägte Lipidbarriere in der Haut normalerweise das Eindringen von Mikroorganismen in die lebende Epidermis.
Die Ausbildung einer intakten physikalischen Barriere ist aber nicht ausreichend für eine erfolgreiche Infektionsabwehr der gesunden Haut und Schleimhaut. Es müssen noch weitere Faktoren hinzukommen. Dazu zählen körpereigene Antibiotika, die antimikrobiellen Peptide, wie z.B. das Lysozym.
Wir weisen darauf hin, dass nicht alle Aussagen von der Schulmedizin akzeptiert sind, da es an placebo-kontrollierten klinischen Studien fehlt.