Freeman 1e: How we got there


Feb 22, 2013 (4 years and 5 months ago)


Chapter 1

Microorganisms and Microbiology


are excellent models for
understanding cell function in higher
organisms, including humans.

1.2 Microorganisms as Cells, p. 3


is a dynamic entity that forms the
fundamental unit of life (
Figure 1.2

LM of rod
bacterial cells

EM of a rod
bacterial cell

The cell has a barrier, the cytoplasmic
membrane, that separates the inside of the cell
from the environment. Other cell features
include the nucleus or nucleoid and the


The four classes of cellular macromolecules
are proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and

Six features associated with living
organisms are
, reproduction,

Figure 1.3

Cells as Machines and Coding Devices

Cells can be considered machines that carry
out chemical transformation.

are the
catalysts of this chemical machine, greatly
accelerating the rate of chemical reactions.

Cells can also be considered coding devices
that store and process information that is
eventually passed on to offspring during
reproduction through
(deoxyribonucleic acid)

and evolution
Figure 1.4
). The link between cells as
machines and cells as coding devices is

1.3 Microorganisms and Their
Natural Environments, p. 5

Microorganisms exist in nature in
populations that interact with other
populations in microbial communities. The
activities of microbial communities can
greatly affect the chemical and physical
properties of their habitats. Most of the
biomass on Earth is microbial.

A microbial

is the location in an
environment where a microbial population

Populations in microbial communities
interact in various ways, both harmful and
beneficial. In many cases, microbial
populations interact and cooperate. Organisms
in a habitat also interact with their physical
and chemical environment.

includes living organisms together with the
physical and chemical constituents of their

Microorganisms change the chemical and
physical properties of their habitats through
such activities as the removal of nutrients
from the environment and the excretion of
waste products.

Estimates of the total number of microbial
cells on Earth is on the order of 5



The total amount of carbon present in this
very large number of very small cells equals
that of all plants on Earth (and plant carbon
far surpasses animal carbon).

Most prokaryotic cells reside underground in
the oceanic and terrestrial subsurfaces.

The Impact of Microorganisms
on Humans

Microorganisms can be both
beneficial and
harmful to humans

Figure 1.6

We tend to emphasize harmful microorganisms
(infectious disease agents, or
), but
many more microorganisms in nature are
beneficial than are harmful.

Impact of Microorganisms

Microorganisms are important in the
agricultural industry.

For example,
, which live in close
association with bacteria that form structures
called nodules on their roots,
atmospheric nitrogen into fixed nitrogen that
the plants use for growth
. The activities of the
bacteria reduce the need for costly and
polluting plant fertilizer.

Microorganisms also play important roles in
the food industry, both harmful and beneficial.
Because food fit for human consumption can
support the growth of many microorganisms,
it must be properly prepared and monitored to
avoid transmission of disease.

Foods that benefit from the effects of

include cheese, yogurt,
buttermilk, sauerkraut, pickles, sausages,
baked goods, and alcoholic beverages.

Microorganisms are important in
, including the production of
methane (natural gas), energy stored in
organisms (biomass), and ethanol.

Biotechnology is the use of microorganisms
industrial biosynthesis
, typically by
microorganisms that have been genetically
modified to synthesize products of high
commercial value.

Various microorganisms can be used to
consume spilled oil, solvents, pesticides, and
other environmentally toxic pollutants.

Historical of Microbiology

Robert Hooke was the first to describe
microorganisms (
Figure 1.8

Microscope used by Robert Hooke
to see microorganisms in 1664

Bluish color mold growing on the surface of
leather discovered by Robert Hooke

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek was the first to
describe bacteria in 1676 (
Figure 1.9

va Leeuwenhoek’s microscope

va Leeuwenhoek’s Drawings of Bacteria

Photomicrograph of a human blood smear taken through
va Leeuwenhoek’s microscope


Ferdinand Cohn founded the field of
bacteriology and discovered bacterial
endospores (
Figure 1.10

Drawing by Ferdinand
Cohen (1866) of the
fillamentous sufur
oxidizing bacterium

Louis Pasteur's work on spontaneous
generation led to the development of methods
for controlling the growth of microorganisms.

Spontaneous generation

was the hypothesis
that living organisms can originate from
nonliving matter. Pasteur disproved this idea
through a famous experiment (
Figure 1.11
) in
which he compared the growth of
microorganisms in one flask containing

broth that was exposed to the air and
one containing sterile broth that was not
exposed to the air.

Microorganisms grew only in the flask
exposed to the air
, thereby refuting the idea
that cells can arise spontaneously from
nonliving matter.

Robert Koch developed a set of postulates
Figure 1.12
) to prove that a specific
microorganism causes a specific disease:

Koch discovered Mycobacterium

Microbial Diversity and the Rise of
General Microbiology

Beijerinck and Winogradsky studied
bacteria in soil and water and developed the
enrichment culture technique for the isolation
of representatives of various physiological
groups (
Figure 1.16

Oxidation of sulfur and nitrogen

Major new concepts in microbiology
emerged during this period, including
enrichment cultures, chemolithotrophy,
chemoautotrophy, and nitrogen fixation.

Table 1.1

summarizes some of the important
discoveries in the field of microbiology, from
van Leeuwenhoek to the present.

Table 1.1

summarizes some of the important discoveries in the field of
microbiology, from van Leeuwenhoek to the present.

The Modern Era of

In the middle to latter part of the twentieth
century, basic and applied microbiology
worked hand in hand to usher in the current
era of molecular microbiology.
Figure 1.17

depicts some of the landmarks in
microbiology in the past 65 years.

The Modern Era of Microbiology

Some subdisciplines of applied
microbiology include medical microbiology,
immunology, agricultural microbiology,
industrial microbiology, aquatic
microbiology, marine microbiology, and
microbial ecology.

Some subdisciplines of basic microbiology
include microbial systematics, microbial
physiology, cytology, microbial biochemistry,
bacterial genetics, and molecular biology.