MicrobiologyMicrobiology is the study of microorganisms, including unicellular (single-celled) eukaryotes and prokaryotes, fungi, and viruseses. Today, most of the work in microbiology is done using methods from biochemistry and genetics. It is also related to pathology, as many microorganisms are pathogens.
Microbiologists have made many fundamental contributions to biology, especially in the fields of biochemistry, genetics, and cell biology. Microbes have many traits that make them ideal model organisms:
These traits allowed Joshua and Esther Lederberg to devise an elegant experiment in 1951 demonstrating that adaptive mutations arise from preadaptation rather than directed mutation. For this purpose, they invented replica plating, which allowed them to transfer numerous bacterial colonies from their specific locations on one agar-filled petri dish to analogous locations on several other petri dishes. After replicating a plate of E. coli, they exposed each of the new plates to phage. They observed that phage-resistant colonies were present at analogous locations on each of the plates, allowing them to conclude that the phage resistance trait had existed in the original colony, which had never been exposed to phage, instead of arising after the bacteria had been exposed to the virus.
- They are small, therefore they do not consume many resources
- Some have very short generation times (~30 minutes for E. coli)
- Cells can easily survive in isolation from other cells
- They can reproduce by mitotic division, allowing for the propagation of genetically identical (clonal) populations.
- They may be frozen for long periods of time. Even if 90% of the cells are killed by the freezing process, there are millions of cells in a milliliter of liquid culture.
The extensive characterization of microbes has allowed them to be used as tools in other branches of biology:
See also Immunology -- Virology -- Genetics -- Biochemistry -- Geomicrobiology
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- Bacteria (especially E. coli) may be used to replicate DNA in the form of a plasmid. This DNA is often chemically modified in vitro then inserted into bacteria to select for the desired traits and isolate the desired product from by-products of the reaction. After growing the bacteria and thereby replicating the DNA, the DNA may be further modified and inserted into other organisms.
- Bacteria may be used to produce large amounts of protein using genes encoded on a plasmid
- Bacterial genes have been inserted into other organisms as reporter genes.
- The yeast two-hybrid system combines bacterial genes with genes from the organism being studied and inserts them into yeast cells to study protein-protein interactions within a cellular environment.
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Good general microbiology information, with images and videos.
The FDA Bad Bug page
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's handbook which provides basic facts regarding foodborne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. Good information and a lot of good content.
A site containing monthly articles on microbiology topics without all the scientific jargon. Many links to sites with good content and discussions on various topics in microbiology.
Tetracycline and MLS antibiotic Nomenclature
Latest information on the Tetracycline and Macrolide-Lincosamide-Streptogramin (MLS) antibiotic resistance genes and their structure.
Lyme Disease Foundation
Includes details about the organization, diseases, ticks, education, journals, conferences, research, vaccines and personal stories. Offers upcoming events, news and a support group locator.
A medical microbiology/infectious diseases site produced by Mount Sinai Hospital and Toronto Medical Laboratories. It contains current infectious disease news, a mycology image gallery, bug of the month, tech teasers, and an online lab manual.
This site links to an enormous amount of microbiology articles and information.
Affliated Medical Services Laboratory, Inc.
AMS (Affliated Medical Services Laboratory, Inc.) is a regional clinical reference laboratory serving physicians, clinics, hospitals, government and industry. Specialties include cytology, microbiology, hematology, chemistry, drug screening and toxicology.
A Review on Escherichia coli adenylate cyclase
A constantly updated review on Escherichia coli adenylate cyclase with references and graphics. Also, a section "Oldies but Goldies" to be updated and focusing on classic literature in Microbiology.
Salmonellosis and its laboratory diagnosis
Salmonellosis and its laboratory diagnosis: Complete description of salmonella infections, isolation of salmonella typhi in laboratory, laboratory diagnosis of typhoid fever. --Dr. Avinash Abhyankar.
A great place for biology science teachers. Contains current science news items, teachers exchange, hundreds of science labs and educational resources.
National Center for Infectious Diseases
NCID conducts surveillance, epidemic investigations, epidemiological & laboratory research, training, and public education programs to develop, evaluate, & promote prevention and control strategies for infectious diseases - division of Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
Microbeworld: Your Gateway to the World of Microbes
A place to view colorful images of microbes, read intriguing microbial facts and trivia, get educational resources and activities, and learn more about these fascinating microscopic creatures.
Virtual Museum of Bacteria
The museum provides information for the general public on all aspects of bacteria with integrated hyperlinks to >250 relevant sites. Annotated lists of links are also provided for professional microbiologists
A website containing information on the microorganisms that cause diseases in humans. Lecture notes, laboratory notebook, computerized clinical cases, and most common causes of infectious diseases file.
A Frontline/PBS collaborative that details how viruses and bacteria have been developed/used as bioweapons and the history of bioweapons.
Grapes of Staph: Doc Kaiser's Microbiology
Dr. Kaiser's microbiology course and laboratory manual are features to help anyone wanting to know more about microbes.
MicroAngela's Electron Microscope Image Gallery
Annotated and colorized images of insects and bacteria.
The aim of the site is to collect together all sources of information concerning archaea and extremophiles on the WWW.
Ron's Pond Scum
Microscopic images of fresh water microlife. Images and descriptive text not limited to Paramecium, Amoeba, Stentor, Vorticella or Daphnia.
The Microbiology Network
Links to users' groups on the WWW, mail lists, forums, and file libraries. Major areas of interest are regulatory microbiology in the pharmaceutical, food, and personal care industries.
Jerome Knutson, University of Minnisota Crookston, has created a good introductory Microbiology course.
Dr. Hurlbert's excellent Microbiology website is back. This site contains an enormous amount of information for people interested in learning about Microbiology.
Microbiology and Immunology Online
Dr. Richard Hunt and his colleagues at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine have created an excellent Medical Microbiology and Immunology website.
Microbiology Webbed Out
Timothy Paustian from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has created an excellent microbiology textbook.
Active Learning Centre- Microbiology
Test your microbiology knowledge at this site. It also contains basic descriptions of various microorganisms.
Bugs in the News
John (Jack) C. Brown from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas has created great microbiology site. It contains a "What the Heck is...?", a general interest, and other bug bytes sections. Good information.
EPA Microbiology Page
This site contains microbiology-related information that has been developed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Image gallery of various parasites and viruses.
Contains visual and curricular resources of use to teachers of microbiology.
A source of educational information about micro-organisms (bacteria, algae, protozoa and other protists). Includes classifications, images, descriptions of organisms, and Lucid guides.
Bacteria Animal Symbiosis Site
Symbiotic interactions between bacteria and animals are described with pictures and links to home pages of researchers and to publications
Microbiology & Public Health
This website contains information on public health, infectious disease profiles, mycology, virology, parasitology, mycobacteriology, bacteriology and environmental health.
Do you know that the luminous bacteria exist ? On these pages you will find short characteristic of these strange organisms and some photos.
NIH: Grants & Funding Opportunities
Grants and Funding Opportunities at the National Institutes of Health
National Masters MSc Virology A postgraduate distance learning course for professionals in medical microbiology
Alain filloux website
Alain Filloux Lab's Website
Name that Bug!
A fun bacterial identification exercise.