What are Cephalosporins?
Cephalosporins are a large group of antibiotics derived from the mold Acremonium (previously called Cephalosporium). This mold yielded three main compounds, historically called Cephalosporin N and C, and P, from which the first cephalosporins were derived.
Cephalosporins are bactericidal (kill bacteria) and work in a similar way to penicillins. They bind to and block the activity of enzymes responsible for making peptidoglycan, an important component of the bacterial cell wall. They are called broad-spectrum antibiotics because they are effective against a wide range of bacteria.
Since the first cephalosporin was discovered in 1945, scientists have been improving the structure of cephalosporins to make them more effective against a wider range of bacteria. Each time the structure changes, a new "generation" of cephalosporins are made. So far there are five generations of cephalosporins. All cephalosporins start with cef, ceph, or kef.