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 Microbiology - An Introduction

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Registration date : 2009-02-14

PostSubject: Microbiology - An Introduction   Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:16 pm

    1. Microbiology is the
      study of organisms too small to be clearly seen by the unaided eye
      (i.e., microorganisms); these include viruses, bacteria, archaea,
      protozoa, algae, and fungi
    2. Some microbes (e.g.,
      algae and fungi) are large enough to be visible, but are still included
      in the field of microbiology; it has been suggested that microbiology
      be defined not only by the size of the organisms studied but by
      techniques employed to study them (isolation, sterilization, culture in
      artificial media)

  1. The Discovery of

    1. Invisible living
      creatures were thought to exist and were thought to be responsible for
      disease long before they were observed
    2. Antony van
      Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) constructed microscopes and was the first person
      to observe and describe microorganisms accurately
  2. The Conflict over
    Spontaneous Generation

    1. The proponents of
      the concept of spontaneous generation claimed that living organisms
      could develop from nonliving or decomposing matter
    2. Francesco Redi
      (1626-1697) challenged this concept by showing that maggots on decaying
      meat came from fly eggs deposited on the meat, and not from the meat
    3. John Needham
      (1713-1781) showed that mutton broth boiled in flasks and then sealed
      could still develop microorganisms, which supported the theory of
      spontaneous generation
    4. Lazzaro Spallanzani
      (1729-1799) showed that flasks sealed and then boiled had no growth of
      microorganisms, and he proposed that air carried germs to the culture
      medium; he also commented that external air might be needed to support
      the growth of animals already in the medium; the latter concept was
      appealing to supporters of spontaneous generation
    5. Louis Pasteur
      (1822-1895) trapped airborne organisms in cotton; he also heated the
      necks of flasks, drawing them out into long curves, sterilized the
      media, and left the flasks open to the air; no growth was observed
      because dust particles carrying organisms did not reach the medium,
      instead they were trapped in the neck of the flask; if the necks were
      broken, dust would settle and the organisms would grow; in this way
      Pasteur disproved the theory of spontaneous generation
    6. John Tyndall
      (1820-1893) demonstrated that dust did carry microbes and that if dust
      was absent, the broth remained sterile-even if it was directly exposed
      to air; Tyndall also provided evidence for the existence of
      heat-resistant forms of bacteria
  3. The Role of
    Microorganisms in Disease

    1. Recognition of the
      relationship between microorganisms and disease

      1. Agostino Bassi
        (1773-1856) showed that a silkworm disease was caused by a fungus
      2. M. J. Berkeley (ca.
        1845) demonstrated that the Great Potato Blight of Ireland was caused
        by a fungus
      3. Louis Pasteur
        showed that the péine disease of silkworms was caused by a protozoan
      4. Joseph Lister
        (1872-1912) developed a system of surgery designed to prevent
        microorganisms from entering wounds; his patients had fewer
        postoperative infections, thereby providing indirect evidence that
        microorganisms were the causal agents of human disease; his published
        findings (1867) transformed the practice of surgery
      5. Robert Koch
        (1843-1910), using criteria developed by his teacher, Jacob Henle
        (1809-1895), established the relationship between Bacillus anthracis
        and anthrax; his criteria became known as Koch's Postulates and are
        still used to establish the link between a particular microorganism
        and a particular disease:

        1. The microorganisms
          must be present in every case of the disease but absent from healthy
        2. The suspected
          microorganisms must be isolated and grown in pure culture
        3. The same disease
          must result when the isolated microorganism is inoculated into a
          healthy host
        4. The same
          microorganism must be isolated again from the diseased host
      6. Koch's work was
        independently confirmed by Pasteur
    2. The development of
      techniques for studying microbial pathogens

      1. Koch and his
        associates developed techniques, reagents, and other materials for
        culturing bacterial pathogens on solid growth media; these enable
        microbiologists to isolate microbes in pure culture
      2. Charles Chamberland
        (1851-1908) constructed a bacterial filter that removed bacteria and
        larger microbes from specimens; this led to the discovery of viruses
        as disease-causing agents
    3. Immunological

      1. Edward Jenner (ca.
        1798) used a vaccination procedure to protect individuals from
      2. Louis Pasteur
        developed other vaccines including those for chicken cholera, anthrax,
        and rabies
      3. Emil von Behring
        (1854-1917) and Shibasaburo Kitasato (1852-1931) induced the formation
        of diphtheria toxin antitoxins in rabbits; the antitoxins were
        effectively used to treat humans and provided evidence for humoral
      4. Elie Metchnikoff
        (1845-1916) demonstrated the existence of phagocytic cells in the
        blood, thus demonstrating cell-mediated immunity

  4. Industrial
    Microbiology and Microbial Ecology

    1. Louis Pasteur
      demonstrated that alcoholic fermentations were the result of microbial
      activity, that some organisms could decrease alcohol yield and sour the
      product, and that some fermentations were aerobic and some anaerobic;
      he also developed the process of pasteurization to preserve wine during
    2. Sergei Winogradsky
      (1856-1953) worked with soil bacteria and discovered that they could
      oxidize iron, sulfur, and ammonia to obtain energy; he also studied
      anaerobic nitrogen fixation and cellulose decomposition
    3. Martinus Beijerinck
      (1851-1931) isolated aerobic nitrogen-fixing bacteria, a root-nodule
      bacterium capable of fixing nitrogen, and sulfate reducing bacteria
    4. Beijerinck and
      Winogradsky pioneered the use of enrichment cultures and selective
  5. The Members of the
    Microbial World

    1. Procaryotes have a
      relatively simple morphology and lack a true membrane-delimited nucleus
    2. Eucaryotes are
      morphologically complex and have a true, membrane-enclosed nucleus
    3. In a commonly used
      classification scheme, organisms are divided into five kingdoms: the
      Monera or Procaryotae, Protista, Fungi, Animalia, and Plantae;
      microbiologists are concerned primarily with members of the first three
      kingdoms and also with viruses, which are not classified with living
    4. Recently a
      classification scheme consisting of three domains (Bacteria, Archaea,
      and Eucarya) has become widely accepted; this scheme is followed in
      this textbook
  6. The Scope and
    Relevance of Microbiology

    1. Microorganisms were
      the first living organisms on the planet, live everywhere life is
      possible, are more numerous than any other kind of organism, and
      probably constitute the largest component of the earth's biomass
    2. The entire ecosystem
      depends on the activities of microorganisms, and microorganisms
      influence human society in countless ways
    3. Microbiology has an
      impact on many fields including medicine, agriculture, food science,
      ecology, genetics, biochemistry, and molecular biology
    4. Microbiologists may
      be interested in specific types of organisms:

      1. Virologists-viruses
      2. Bacteriologists-bacteria
      3. Phycologists or
      4. Mycologists-fungi
      5. Protozoologists-protozoa
    5. Microbiologists may
      be interested in various characteristics or activities of

      1. Microbial
      2. Microbial cytology
      3. Microbial
      4. Microbial ecology
      5. Microbial genetics
        and molecular biology
      6. Microbial taxonomy
    6. Microbiologists may
      have a more applied focus:

      1. Medical
        microbiology, including immunology
      2. Food and dairy
      3. Public health
      4. Agricultural
      5. Industrial

  7. The Future of

    1. Microbiology has had
      and will continue to have a profound influence on society.
    2. In the future
      microbiologists will be:

      1. Trying to better
        understand and control existing, emerging, and reemerging infectious
      2. Studying the
        association between infectious agents and chronic diseases
      3. Learning more about
        host defenses and host-pathogen interactions
      4. Developing new uses
        for microbes in industry, agriculture, and environmental control
      5. Still discovering
        the many microbes that have not yet been identified and cultured
      6. Trying to better
        understand how microbes interact and communicate
      7. Analyzing and
        interpreting the ever-increasing amount of data from genome studies
      8. Continuing to use
        microbes as model systems for answering fundamental questions in
      9. Assessing and
        communicating the potential impact of new discoveries and technologies
        on society



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