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Front Matter from OpenStax Microbiology

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    Welcome to Microbiology, an OpenStax resource. This textbook was written to increase student access to high-quality learning materials, maintaining highest standards of academic rigor at little to no cost.

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    About Microbiology

    Microbiology is designed to cover the scope and sequence requirements for the 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 Microbiology make the material interesting and accessible to students while maintaining the career-application focus and scientific rigor inherent in the subject matter.

    Coverage and Scope

    The scope and sequence of Microbiology has been developed and vetted with input from numerous instructors at institutions across the US. It is designed to meet the needs of most microbiology courses for non-majors and allied health students. In addition, we have also considered the needs of institutions that offer microbiology to a mixed audience of science majors and non-majors by frequently integrating topics that may not have obvious clinical

    relevance, such as environmental and applied microbiology and the history of science.

    With these objectives in mind, the content of this textbook has been arranged in a logical progression from fundamental to more advanced concepts. The opening chapters present an overview of the discipline, with individual chapters focusing on microscopy and cellular biology as well as each of the classifications of microorganisms. Students then explore the foundations of microbial biochemistry, metabolism, and genetics, topics that provide a basis for understanding the various means by which we can control and combat microbial growth. Beginning with Chapter 15, the focus turns to microbial pathogenicity, emphasizing how interactions between microbes and the human immune system contribute to human health and disease. The last several chapters of the text provide a survey of medical microbiology, presenting the characteristics of microbial diseases organized by body system.

    While we have made every effort to align the Table of Contents with the needs of our audience, we recognize that some instructors may prefer to teach topics in a different order. A particular strength of Microbiology is that instructors can customize the book, adapting it to the approach that works best in their classroom.

    American Society of Microbiology (ASM) Partnership

    Microbiology is produced through a collaborative publishing agreement between OpenStax and the American Society for Microbiology Press. The book has been developed to align to the curriculum guidelines of the American Society for Microbiology.

    About ASM

    The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 47,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

    ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications, and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources and provides a network for scientists in academia, industry, and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences and is committed to offering open-access materials through their new journals, American Academy of Microbiology reports, and textbooks.

    ASM Recommended Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Microbiology Education

    PART 1: Concepts and Statements Evolution

    1. Cells, organelles (e.g., mitochondria and chloroplasts) and all major metabolic pathways evolved from early prokaryotic cells.

    2. Mutations and horizontal gene transfer, with the immense variety of microenvironments, have selected for a huge diversity of microorganisms.

    3. Human impact on the environment influences the evolution of microorganisms (e.g., emerging diseases and the selection of antibiotic resistance).

    4. The traditional concept of species is not readily applicable to microbes due to asexual reproduction and the frequent occurrence of horizontal gene transfer.

    5. The evolutionary relatedness of organisms is best reflected in phylogenetic trees.

    Cell Structure and Function

    6. The structure and function of microorganisms have been revealed by the use of microscopy (including bright field, phase contrast, fluorescent, and electron).

    7. Bacteria have unique cell structures that can be targets for antibiotics, immunity and phage infection.

    8. Bacteria and Archaea have specialized structures (e.g., flagella, endospores, and pili) that often confer critical capabilities.

    9. While microscopic eukaryotes (for example, fungi, protozoa and algae) carry out some of the same processes as bacteria, many of the cellular properties are fundamentally different.

    10 . The replication cycles of viruses (lytic and lysogenic) differ among viruses and are determined by their unique structures and genomes.

    Metabolic Pathways

    11 . Bacteria and Archaea exhibit extensive, and often unique, metabolic diversity (e.g., nitrogen fixation, methane

    production, anoxygenic photosynthesis) .

    12. The interactions of microorganisms among themselves and with their environment are determined by their metabolic abilities (e.g., quorum sensing, oxygen consumption, nitrogen transformations).

    13. . The survival and growth of any microorganism in a given environment depends on its metabolic characteristics.

    14. . The growth of microorganisms can be controlled by physical, chemical, mechanical, or biological means.

    Information Flow and Genetics

    15. Genetic variations can impact microbial functions (e.g., in biofilm formation, pathogenicity and drug resistance).

    16 . Although the central dogma is universal in all cells, the processes of replication, transcription, and translation differ in Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukaryotes.

    17 . The regulation of gene expression is influenced by external and internal molecular cues and/or signals. 18 . The synthesis of viral genetic material and proteins is dependent on host cells.

    19. . Cell genomes can be manipulated to alter cell function.

    Microbial Systems

    20. Microorganisms are ubiquitous and live in diverse and dynamic ecosystems.

    21. Most bacteria in nature live in biofilm communities.

    22. Microorganisms and their environment interact with and modify each other.

    23. Microorganisms, cellular and viral, can interact with both human and nonhuman hosts in beneficial, neutral or detrimental ways.

    Impact of Microorganisms

    24. Microbes are essential for life as we know it and the processes that support life (e.g., in biogeochemical cycles and plant and/or animal microbiota).

    25. Microorganisms provide essential models that give us fundamental knowledge about life processes.

    26. Humans utilize and harness microorganisms and their products.

    27. Because the true diversity of microbial life is largely unknown , its effects and potential benefits have not been fully explored.

    PART 2: Competencies and Skills Scientific Thinking

    28. Ability to apply the process of science

    a. Demonstrate an ability to formulate hypotheses and design experiments based on the scientific method.

    b. Analyze and interpret results from a variety of microbiological methods and apply these methods to analogous situations.

    29. Ability to use quantitative reasoning

    a. Use mathematical reasoning and graphing skills to solve problems in microbiology.

    30. . Ability to communicate and collaborate with other disciplines

    a. Effectively communicate fundamental concepts of microbiology in written and oral format.

    b. Identify credible scientific sources and interpret and evaluate the information therein.

    31. Ability to understand the relationship between science and society

    a. Identify and discuss ethical issues in microbiology.

    Microbiology Laboratory Skills

    32. Properly prepare and view specimens for examination using microscopy (bright field and, if possible, phase contrast).

    33. Use pure culture and selective techniques to enrich for and isolate microorganisms.

    34. Use appropriate methods to identify microorganisms (media-based, molecular and serological).

    35. Estimate the number of microorganisms in a sample (using, for example, direct count, viable plate count, and spectrophotometric methods).

    36. Use appropriate microbiological and molecular lab equipment and methods.

    37. Practice safe microbiology, using appropriate protective and emergency procedures.

    38. Document and report on experimental protocols, results and conclusions.

    About the Authors

    Senior Contributing Authors

    Nina Parker (Content Lead), Shenandoah University

    Dr. Nina Parker received her BS and MS from the University of Michigan, and her PhD in Immunology from Ohio University. She joined Shenandoah University's Department of Biology in 1995 and serves as Associate Professor, teaching general microbiology, medical microbiology, immunology, and epidemiology to biology majors and allied health students . Prior to her academic career, Dr. Parker was trained as a Medical Technologist and received ASCP certification, experiences that drive her ongoing passion for training health professionals and those preparing for clinical laboratory work. Her areas of specialization include infectious disease, immunology, microbial pathogenesis, and medical microbiology. Dr. Parker is also deeply interested in the history of medicine and science, and pursues information about diseases often associated with regional epidemics in Virginia.

    Mark Schneegurt (Lead Writer), Wichita State University

    Dr. Mark A. Schneegurt is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Wichita State University and maintains joint appointments in Curriculum and Instruction and Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Schneegurt holds degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. from Brown University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Eli Lilly and has taught and researched at Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on applied and environmental microbiology, resulting in 70+ scientific publications and 150+ presentations.

    Anh-Hue Thi Tu (Senior Reviewer), Georgia Southwestern State University

    Dr. Anh-Hue Tu (born in Saigon, Vietnam) earned a BS in Chemistry from Baylor University and a PhD in Medical Sciences from Texas A & M Health Science Center. At the University of Alabama-Birmingham, she completed postdoctoral appointments in the areas of transcriptional regulation in Escherichia coli and characterization of virulence factors in Streptococcus pneumoniae and then became a research assistant professor working in the field of mycoplasmology. In 2004, Dr. Tu joined Georgia Southwestern State University where she currently serves as Professor, teaching various biology courses and overseeing undergraduate student research. Her areas of research interest include gene regulation, bacterial genetics, and molecular biology. Dr. Tu's teaching philosophy is to instill in her students the love of science by using critical thinking. As a teacher, she believes it is important to take technical information and express it in a way that is understandable to any student.

    Brian M. Forster, Saint Joseph's University

    Dr. Brian M. Forster received his BS in Biology from Binghamton University and his PhD in Microbiology from Cornell University. In 2011, he joined the faculty of Saint Joseph's University. Dr. Forster is the laboratory coordinator for the natural science laboratory-based classes designed for students who are not science majors. He teaches courses in general biology, heredity and evolution, environmental science, and microbiology for students wishing to enter nursing or allied health programs. He has publications in the Journal of Bacteriology, the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education and Tested Studies for Laboratory Education (ABLE Proceedings).

    Philip Lister, Central New Mexico Community College

    Dr. Philip Lister earned his BS in Microbiology (1986) from Kansas State University and PhD in Medical Microbiology (1992) from Creighton University. He was a Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at Creighton University (1994-2011), with appointments in the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy. He also served as Associate Director of the Center for Research in Anti-Infectives and Biotechnology. He has published research articles, reviews, and book chapters related to antimicrobial resistance and pharmacodynamics, and has served as an Editor for the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. He is currently serving as Chair of Biology and Biotechnology at Central New Mexico Community College.

    Contributing Authors

    Summer Allen, Brown University

    Ann Auman, Pacific Lutheran University

    Graciela Brelles-Marifio, Universidad Nacional de la Plata

    Myriam Alhadeff Feldman, Lake Washington Institute of Technology Paul Flowers, University of North Carolina-Pembroke

    Clifton Franklund, Ferris State University Ann Paterson, Williams Baptist University

    George Pinchuk, Mississippi University for Women Ben Rowley, University of Central Arkansas

    Mark Sutherland, Hendrix College


    Michael Angell, Eastern Michigan University Roberto Anitori, Clark College

    James Bader, Case Western Reserve University Amy Beumer, College of William and Mary Gilles Bolduc, Massasoit Community College Susan Bornstein-Forst, Marian University Nancy Boury, Iowa State University

    Jennifer Brigati, Maryville College Harold Bull, University of Saskatchewan Evan Burkala, Oklahoma State University Bernadette Connors, Dominican College

    Richard J. Cristiano, Houston Community College-Northwest AnnMarie DelliPizzi, Dominican College

    Elisa M. LaBeau DiMenna, Central New Mexico Community College Diane Dixon, Southeastern Oklahoma State University

    Randy Durren, Longwood University Elizabeth A. B. Emmert, Salisbury University Karen Frederick, Marygrove College

    Sharon Gusky, Northwestern Connecticut Community College Deborah V. Harbour, College of Southern Nevada

    Randall Harris, William Carey University Diane Hartman, Baylor University Angela Hartsock, University of Akron

    Nazanin Zarabadi Hebel, Houston Community College Heather Klenovich, Community College of Alleghany County Kathleen Lavoie, Plattsburgh State University

    Toby Mapes, Blue Ridge Community College Barry Margulies, Towson University

    Kevin M. McCabe, Columbia Gorge Community College Karin A. Melkonian, Long Island University

    Jennifer Metzler, Ball State University

    Ellyn R. Mulcahy, Johnson County Community College Jonas Okeagu, Fayetteville State University

    Randall Kevin Pegg, Florida State College-Jacksonville Judy Penn, Shoreline Community College

    Lalitha Ramamoorthy, Marian University Drew Rholl, North Park University

    Hilda Rodriguez, Miami Dade College Sean Rollins, Fitchburg State University Sameera Sayeed, University of Pittsburgh Pramila Sen, Houston Community College

    Brian Robert Shmaefsky, Kingwood College Janie Sigmon, York Technical College

    Denise Signorelli, College of Southern Nevada Molly Smith, South Georgia State College-Waycross Paula Steiert, Southwest Baptist University

    Robert Sullivan, Fairfield University Suzanne Wakim, Butte Community College Anne Weston, Francis Crick Institute Valencia L. Williams, West Coast University James Wise, Chowan State University Virginia Young, Mercer University

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