SCOPE OF MICROBIOLOGY:
What is Microbiology?
� Microbiology is the study of microorganisms� Microorganisms, roughly, are living things that are too small to be seen with the naked eye� Microorganisms cannot be distinguished phylogenetically from �macroorganisms� (see variety of microorganisms, below)� Microbiology is more a collection of techniques: aseptic technique, pure culture technique, microscopic observation of whole organisms, etc.� Microbiologists isolate specific, culturable microorganisms from wild populations, then study them (or, alternatively, study them in situwithout culturing them)
| [Microbiology is the study of organisms too small to be seen with the naked eye. Originally, emphasis was placed on harmful microorganisms which cause disease or spoilage of beverages and food, but it is now recognized that many microbes have essential roles in our ecosystem or can be used to accomplish beneficial tasks. Human history is full of examples of major devastations caused by bacteria and viruses. Some of these historically important diseases still occur, such tuberculosis and yellow fever. Microorganisms are evolving to cause new infectious disease problems such as Lyme disease and AIDS, which capture public attention. Control and eradication of infectious diseases remain important goals of many microbiologists. The recognition that microorganisms were responsible for what was earlier thought to be "spontaneous generation" opened the door to industrial (pharmaceutical, chemical, energy) and food microbiology, technologies which contribute substantially to today's way of life. Microorganisms in soil and water are essential in the transformation of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur and iron to products needed by plants and animals. In various ways, microbes participate in environmental cycling and degradation and global change. In the last few decades, microorganisms have been recognized as ideal model systems for the study of basic biological processes. � More recently, microbiologists have brought an exciting dimension to the study of biology through the use of genetic engineering techniques and highly specific protein (antibody) molecules. Accomplishments in these areas already have led to enormous benefits for the human race, but there are many more challenges to be conquered through these kinds of studies. In the future, studies in space microbiology may help to reveal if there is life on other planets and the role of microorganisms in closed systems. Today, one can truly say that the potential for microbiology to benefit human and animal health and life has never been better.
(3) The variety of kinds of microbes (microbes, microorganisms) (a) �Microbes are typically (but certainly not always) either unicellular organism (e.g., bacteria) or acellular "organisms" (e.g., viruses) (b) Typically a microbiologist will differentiate microbes into the following categories: (i) Bacteria
Supplemental Material � Types of Microorganisms & their General Properties
| Nutrition type(-trophs):
| durable state:
| some diseases:
| brown, red, green, diatoms, dinoflagellates, euglenoids
| photosynthetic aquatic eucaryotes, cell walls, unicellular and multicellular
| eubacteria, archaeabacteria, Gram-negative, Gram-positive, acid fast, cyanobacteria
| procaryotes, absorbers, wet conditions, animal decomposers, cell walls, unicellular
| chemohetero-photohetero- chemoauto- photoauto-
| endospores (some)
| tetanus, botulism, gonorrhea, chlamydia, tuberculosis, etc., etc., etc.
| blue-green algae
| photosynthetic aquatic procaryotes, green lake scum, cell walls
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