Microbiology: Principles and Explorations 8th Edition

Microbiology: Principles and Explorations 8th Edition PDF

Author: Jacquelyn G. Black

Publisher: Wiley


Publish Date: January 3, 2012

ISBN-10: 0470541091

Pages: 868

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

The development of microbiology—from Leeuwenhoek’s astonished observations of ‘‘animalcules,’’ to Pasteur’s first use of rabies vaccine on a human, to Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, to today’s race to develop an AIDS vaccine is one of the most dramatic stories in the history of science. To understand the roles microbes play in our lives, including the interplay between microorganisms and humans, we must examine, learn about, and study their world—the world of microbiology.

Microorganisms are everywhere. They exist in a range of environments from mountains and volcanoes to deepseas vents and hot springs. Microorganisms can be found in the air we breathe, in the food we eat, and even within our own body. In fact, we come in contact with countless numbers of microorganisms every day. Although some microbes can cause disease, most are not disease producers; rather they play a critical role in the processes that provide energy and make life possible. Some even prevent disease, and others are used in attempts to cure disease. Because microorganisms play diverse roles in the world, microbiology continues to be an exciting and critical discipline of study. And because microbes affect our everyday lives, microbiology provides many challenges and offers many rewards. Look at your local newspaper, and you will find items concerning microbiology: to mention a few, reports on diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, and cancer; the resurgence of malaria and dengue fever, or ‘‘new’’ diseases.

For example the current public health problem with people dying of Listeria infections gotten from cantaloupes, can be prevented. Chapter 1 describes an anti-Listeria bacteriophage product licensed by the U.S. government, which kills all Listeria on the surface of cut melons, if only we would use it. In Chapter 26, we discuss a technique developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pasteurize cantaloupes. It kills 99.999% of all Salmonella found on the rind. Listeria is more resistant to pasteurization, but, as with milk, perhaps some tweaking of the procedure would kill Listeria.

One of the most exciting and controversial new developments occurred 2 years ago, when J. Craig Venter (of Human Genome fame) made a synthetic bacterium (Synthia laboratorium). Was he usurping the role of God? Did we have to fear a whole new horde of man-made bacteria which would ruin the environment, create new diseases, or set off huge epidemics? Or, would they be the answer to problems such as providing biofuels that would take care of energy needs? Read about Dr. Venter’s work in Chapter 10. Incidentally, he already created the first synthetic virus a few years ago, from parts that he ordered from biological supply houses.


The theme that permeates this book is that microbiology is a current, relevant, exciting central science that affects all of us. I would like to share this excitement with you. Come with me as I take you, and your students, on a journey through the relevancy of microbiology. In countless areas—from agriculture to evolution, from ecology to dentistry—microbiology is contributing to scientific knowledge as well as solving human problems. Accordingly, a goal of this text is to offer a sense of the history of this science, its methodology, its many contributions to humanity, and the many ways in which it continues to be on the cutting edge of scientific advancement.


This book meets the needs of students in the health sciences as well as biology majors and students enrolled in other science programs who need a solid foundation in microbiology. It is designed to serve both audiences—in part by using an abundance of clinically important information to illustrate the general principles of microbiology and in part by offering a wide variety of additional applications.

In this edition, boxed essay titles appear in a different color to help students easily identify the type of application.

The organization of the eighth edition continues to combine logic with flexibility. The chapters are grouped in units from the fundamentals of chemistry, cells, and microscopy; to metabolism, growth, and genetics; to taxonomy of microbes and multicellular parasites; to control
of microorganisms; to host-microbe interactions; to infectious diseases of humans; and finally to environmental and applied microbiology. The chapter sequence will be useful in most microbiology courses as they are usually taught. However, it is not essential that chapters be assigned in their present order; it is possible to use this book in courses organized along different lines.

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