Microbiology covers the scope and sequence requirements for a single-semester microbiology course for non-majors. The book presents the core concepts of microbiology with a focus on applications for careers in allied health. The pedagogical features of the text make the material interesting and accessible while maintaining the career-application focus and scientific rigor inherent in the subject matter.
- Microorganisms (or microbes, as they are also called) are small organisms. Most are so small that they cannot be seen without a microscope. Most microorganisms are harmless to humans and, in fact, many are helpful. They play fundamental roles in ecosystems everywhere on earth, forming the backbone of many food webs. People use them to make biofuels, medicines, and even foods.
- Through a microscope, we can examine microbial cells and colonies, using various techniques to manipulate color, size, and contrast in ways that help us identify species and diagnose disease. This chapter explores how various types of microscopes manipulate light in order to provide a window into the world of microorganisms. By understanding how various kinds of microscopes work, we can produce highly detailed images of microbes that can be useful for both research and clinical applications.
- Cell theory is the idea that the fundamental unit of life is the cell, that all organisms contain at least one cell, and that cells only come from other cells. Despite sharing certain characteristics, cells may vary significantly. The two main types of cells are prokaryotic cells (lacking a nucleus) and eukaryotic cells (containing a well-organized, membrane-bound nucleus). Each type of cell exhibits remarkable variety in structure, function, and metabolic activity.
- This chapter will examine the diversity, structure, and function of prokaryotes. Prokaryotes have an important role in changing, shaping, and sustaining the entire biosphere. They can produce proteins and other substances used by molecular biologists in basic research and in medicine and industry
- Genetic differences among related microbes also many observed biochemical and virulence differences. For example, some strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli are harmless members of the normal microbiota in the human gastrointestinal tract. Other strains of the same species have genes that give them the ability to cause disease. In bacteria, such genes are not inherited via sexual reproduction, as in humans.