Chapter 1. Microorganisms and Microbiology. Chapter outline. 1.1 What is a microbe? 1.2 The importance of Microbiology 1.3 Microbes in our lives 1.4 The history of microbiology 1.5 Important events in the development of microbiology. Concepts.
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Microorganisms and Microbiology
1.1 What is a microbe?
1.2 The importance of Microbiology
1.3 Microbes in our lives
1.4 The history of microbiology
1.5 Important events in the development
The word microbe (microorganism) is used to describe an organism that is so small that can not be seen without the use of a microscope. Viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and some algae are all included in this category.
Our world is populated by invisible creatures too small to be seen with the unaided eye. These life forms, the microbes or microorganisms, may be seen only by magnifying their image with a microscope.
Algae (unicellular or multicellular)
Fungi (unicellular or multicellular)
Other (multicellular organisms)
Most of the bacteria, protozoa, and fungi are single-celled microorganisms, and even the multicelled microbes do not have a great range of cell types. Viruses are not even cells, just genetic material surrounded by a protein coat and incapable of independent existence.
Microbes impinge on all aspects of life, just a few of these are listed below:
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Microbes are responsible for the geochemical cycles. They are found in association with plants in symbiotic relationships. Some microbes are devastating plant pathogens, but others may act as biological control agents against diseases.
The disease-causing ability of some microbes is well known. However, microorganisms have also provided us with the means of their control in the form of antibiotics and other medically important drugs.
Microbes have been used to produce food, from brewing and wine making, through cheese production and bread making, to the manufacture of soy sauce. But microbes are also responsible for food spoilage.
Traditionally microbes have been used to synthesize important chemicals. The advent of genetic engineering techniques has led to the cloning of polypeptides into microbes.
Microbes have been used as model organisms for the investigation of biochemical and genetical processes. Millions of copies of the same single cell can be produced very quickly and give plenty of homogeneous experimental material. Most people have no ethical objections to experiments with these microorganisms.
Branches of Microbiology
Phycology or Algology
Microbiology is one of the most rewarding of professions, because it gives its practitioners the opportunity to be in contact with all the other natural science and thus to contribute in many different ways to the betterment of human life.
In the field of observation, chance favors only prepared minds.
------ Louis Pasteur
The spontaneous generation conflict
The recognition of microbial role in disease
The discovery of microbial effects on organic and inorganic matter
The development of microbiology in this century
Antony van Leeuwenhock (1632-1723)
The first person to accurately observe and describe microorganisms
The first person to observe and describe microorganisms was the amateur microscopist Antony van leeuwenhoek of Delft, Holland.
Leeuwenhock made his simple, single-lens microscope which could amplify the object being viewed 50 – 300 times. Between 1673-1723, he wrote a series of letters to the Royal Society of London describing the microbes he observed from the samples of rainwater, and humam mouth.
Object being viewed
A drawing of one of the microscopes showing the lens a; mounting pin b; and focusing screws c and d.
Leeuwenhoek’s drawings of bacteria from the human mouth.
Louis Pasteur working in his laboratory
Spontaneous generation – that living organisms could develop from nonliving or decomposing matter.
Pasteur’s swan neck flasks used in his experiments on the spontaneous generation of microorganisms
Microorganisms are not spontaneously generated from inanimate matter, but are produced by other microorganisms
The recognition of microbial role in disease
Robert Koch in his laboratory
Sir Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic penicillin. He had the insight to recognize the significance of the inhibition of bacterial growth in the vicinity of a fungal contaminant.
phagocytosis Gram stain developed
1887 Petri dish (plate) developed by Richard Petri
1921 Fleming discovers lysozyme
1923 First edition of Bergey's Manual
1928 Griffith discovers bacterial transformation
1929 Fleming discovers penicillin
1935 Stanley crystallizes the tobacco mosaic virus
1.How did Pasteur's famous experiment defeat the theory of spontaneous generation?
2.How can Koch's postulates prove cause and effect in a disease?
3.Who was the first person to use solid culture media in microbiology? What advantages do solid media offer for the culture of microorganisms?
5.When and how Alexander Fleming discovered antibiotics?
1. Pasteur's experiments on spontaneous generation were of enormous importance for the advance of microbiology, having an impact on the methodology of microbiology, ideas on (he origin of life, and the preservation of food,to name just a few. Explain briefly how the impact of his experiments was felt on each of the topics listed.
2. Describe the various lines of proof Robert Koch used to definitively associate the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis with the disease tuberculosis. How would his proof have been flawed if any of the tools he developed for studying bacterial diseases had not been available for his study of tuberculosis?
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