An Introduction to Microbiology The advantages of being small - Webs

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Feb 20, 2013 (3 years and 10 months ago)

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An Introduction to Microbiology

The advantages of being small


Lecture 1

Dr Kathryn Whitehead

What is Microbiology?


The multidisciplinary science of
microorganisms


The prefix micro generally refers to an
object sufficiently small that a microscope
is required for visualization


Microbiology is concerned with the


Structure


Function


Classification


Ways of controlling these organisms

Spontaneous Generation


Complex, living organisms are generated by
decaying organic substances


that mice spontaneously appear in stored grain


maggots spontaneously appear in meat


According to Aristotle it was a readily observable
truth that


aphids arise from the dew which falls on plants


fleas from putrid matter


mice from dirty hay


alligators and crocodiles from rotting logs at the
bottom of bodies of water

History


Anton van Leeuwenhoek first documented
observations of bacteria by using finely ground
lenses


Louis Pasteur's pioneering studies in the
nineteenth century


Robert Koch



Modern microbiology has continued to evolve
from bacteriology by encompassing


Identification


Classification


Study of the structure and function of a wide range of
microorganisms including


Protozoa


Algae


Fungi


Viruses


Bacteria




The comprehensive range of organisms is
reflected in the major subdivisions of
microbiology


Medical


Industrial


Agricultural


Food


Dairy


Biotechnology


Protozoa


The lowest great division of the animal kingdom


Ciliated protozoa and wastewater treatment


Trypanosoma

and sleeping sickness


Algae


Algae

(singular
alga
)


Encompass several groups of relatively
simple living aquatic organisms that
capture light energy through
photosynthesis


Use it to convert inorganic substances into
organic matter


Algal blooms

Fungi


The
fungi

(singular
fungus
) are a kingdom of
eukaryotic organisms


They are heterotrophic (requires organic
substrates to get carbon for growth and
development)


Digest their food externally, absorbing nutrient
molecules into their cells


Yeasts, moulds, and mushrooms are examples
of fungi


The branch of biology involving the study of
fungi is known as mycology

Bacteria


Bacteria

(singular:
bacterium
) are unicellular
microorganisms


They are prokaryotic (re organisms without a cell
nucleus, or any other membrane
-
bound
organelles


They are typically a few micrometres long


Many different shapes including spheres, rods
and spirals


The study of bacteria is bacteriology, a branch of
microbiology

Viruses


A
virus

(Latin,
poison
) is a microscopic
particle that can infect the cells of a
biological organism


Viruses can only replicate themselves by
infecting a host cell and therefore cannot
reproduce on their own

Why is microbiology important?


Microorganisms were the first life forms on
earth


They provide some of the most accessible
research tools for probing the nature of life
processes


Essential in many aspects for life to occur
-
without microorganisms all higher life
forms on earth would cease to exist


Recycling of key nutrients

Microorganisms are used in;


Medicine


Agriculture


Industry


Diseases (humans, plants, animals)


Soil fertility


Domestic animal production


Large scale industrial processes


Biotechnology

Where do microorganisms live?


Water


Soil


Food


On plastics


On metals


In the body

What are the advantages of being
small?


There are billions of them with only a
relatively small genome


These systems have the advantage of
being able to respond rapidly and
reversibly to changing conditions


They can adapt to almost any environment