One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An antibiotic obtained from Streptomyces hygroscopicus that is an ionophore for monovalent cations and is used chiefly as an experimental tool.
1950s. Probably from the name of Nigeria, the country of origin of a soil sample containing a Streptomyces species, from which the antibiotic was isolated + -cin (in -mycin).
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