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Microbiology: Principles and Explorations, 7th Edition


Author: Jacquelyn G. Black

Publisher: Wiley


Publish Date: January 2, 2008

ISBN-10: 470343516

Pages: Pages

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

The development of microbiology—from Leeuwenhoek’s astonished observations of ‘‘animalcules,’’ to Pasteur’s first use of rabies vaccine on a human, to Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, to today’s search to stop the spread of SARS and race to develop an AIDS vaccine is one of the most dramatic stories in the history of science. To understand the roles microbes play in our lives, including the interplay betweenmicroorganisms and humans, we must examine, learn about, and study their world—the world of microbiology.

Microorganisms are everywhere. They exist in a range of environments from mountains and volcanoes to deepseas vents and hot springs. Microorganisms can be found in the air we breathe, in the food we eat, and even within our own body. In fact, we come in contact with countless numbers of microorganisms every day. Although some microbes can cause disease, most are not disease producers; rather they play a critical role in the processes that provide energy and make life possible. Some even prevent disease, and others are used in attempts to cure disease.

Because microorganisms play diverse roles in the world, microbiology continues to be an exciting and critical discipline of study. And because microbes affect our everyday lives, microbiology provides many challenges and offers many rewards. Look at your local newspaper, and you will find items concerning microbiology: to mention a few, reports on diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, and cancer; the resurgence of malaria and dengue fever, or ‘‘new’’ diseases such as Avian Flu, HPV, West Nile fever, Monkey Pox, SARS, and those caused by the Ebola virus and the hantavirus; a bacterium that can cause ulcers and stomach cancer; technologies designed to increase food production; bacteriophages used to circumvent antibiotic resistance; microorganisms used to clean up toxic wastes and oil spills; and the Human Genome Project that identifies the complete set of genetic instructions within the cells of the human body.


The theme that permeates this book is that microbiology is a current, relevant, exciting central science that affects all of us. I would like to share this excitement with you. Come with me as I take you, and your students,on a journey through the relevancy of microbiology. In countless areas—from agriculture to evolution, from ecology to dentistry—microbiology is contributing to scientific knowledge as well as solving human problems. Accordingly, a goal of this text is to offer a sense of the history of this science, its methodology, its many contributions to humanity, and the many ways in which it continues to be on the cutting edge of scientific advancement.


This book meets the needs of students in the health sciences as well as biology majors and students enrolled in other science programs who need a solid foundation in microbiology. It is designed to serve both audiences—in part by using an abundance of clinically important information to illustrate the general principles of microbiology and in part by offering a wide variety of additional applications. In this edition, boxed essays have been newly organized to help students readily recognize the type of application being presented. Each application is identified with an appropriate icon.

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