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Microbiology and Human Disease. Overview of Microbiology. Some Basic Terms. Microbiology -scientific study of microbes and microbial processes Microbe/microorganism - microscopic things that have characteristics of life (including viruses)

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microbiology and human disease

Microbiology and Human Disease

Overview of Microbiology


Some Basic Terms

Microbiology-scientific study of microbes and microbial processes

Microbe/microorganism- microscopic things that have characteristics of life (including viruses)

Agent-thing that produces a certain effect such as a disease

Pathogen-microbial agent of disease

Culture (cultivate)-v. to grow microbes

Isolate-to separate different lineages of microbes from each other in a growth medium

Infectious agents can be divided into some basic categories:

Non-cellular (some would say non-living)

Prions-infectious proteins

Viruses-infectious particles made of DNA or RNA, protein, sometimes lipid membrane

Cellular (living)

Bacteria- single-celled organisms with circular DNA and no nucleus

Protists-single celled organisms with nucleus and other membranous organelles

Fungi-most are multi-celled; some are single celled (yeasts) organisms with nucleus and mitochondria

Animals-all are multi celled organisms with nucleus, mitochondria, elaborate cellular structure, tissue, and organs

modern microbiology
Modern Microbiology

Extremely diverse branch of the life sciences

American Society For Microbiology: one of the largest scientific associations in the world


The divisions of ASM exemplify the important disciplines within microbiology


overview of topics
Overview of topics
  • Scientific Method and Historical Perspectives
  • Molecules and Cells
  • Diversity of Microbes
  • Microbial Genetics
  • Host-Microbe interactions and Immunity
  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiological Methods
  • Specific Agents of Disease
    • Prokaryotes (bacteria)
    • Eukaryotes (protists, fungi, helminthes)
    • Viruses and Prions
global microbiology
Global Microbiology

Microbes have power to influence the planet.

The Earth’s atmosphere was dramatically changed when bacteria first appeared.

Pandemics occur when a disease outbreak is worldwide in distribution such as HIV

applied microbiology
Applied Microbiology

Biomedical engineering

Conservation and Environmental policy

Public Health




Food and Drugs

agriculture and genetic engineering
Agriculture and Genetic Engineering

Bacterial DNA

Insecticide Gene

Genetically modified corn

genetic engineering and medicine
Genetic Engineering and Medicine

Gene inserted into chromosome when virus invades cells

Virus with ‘good’ gene

food production food safety and nutrition
Food Production, Food Safety and Nutrition
  • Microorganisms are used in the production of:
    • Fermented beverages
    • Cheese
    • Yogurt
    • Bread
  • Some food may contain microbes that can be harmful and cause food-borne illness
bio defense
  • Many pathogenic organisms are potential bio-warfare/bioterrorism agents
  • Rajneeshees cult used salmonella in the 1980’s
  • Unknown perpetrator used anthrax in 2001