Natamycin was isolated for the first time in 1955 in the Gist-brocades research laboratories, from the fermentation broth of a culture of Streptomyces natalensis. Struyk announced his discovery and the properties of natamycin in Antibiotics Annual in 1957, with the publication of his article “Pimaricin, a new antifungal antibiotic”.
It was initially named pimaricin in honour of the city of Pietermaritzburg (Natal, South Africa) where the sample for the Streptomyces natalensis culture was obtained. Some years later, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the names of antibiotics produced by Streptomyces had to end in -mycin (ì-mycin.î). The WHO wanted to reflect the name of the organism responsible for the product. As a result, since the name pimaricin was not accepted by the WHO, it was replaced by natamycin (Streptomyces natalensis).