Microbiology Roadmap: Helping you Navigate On the Road

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Microbiology Roadmap: Helping you Navigate
dg2 On the Road
As you read this chapter, ask yourself…

What groups of organisms are studied by microbiologists?

Do all microbes cause disease?

How prevalent are bacteria?

What are some of the defining characteristics of the different groups of microbes?

What is the germ theory of disease?

Who were the major contributors toward developing the discipline of microbiology and other specialized branches of microbiology?

In the future, what questions will microbiology and its related branches be attempting to answer?

dg2 Scenic overlook: why study microbiology?
We have just started on our journey, but it is already time to stop and look around. What are three or four reasons to study microbiology? Given the scope of the study of microbiology, write a few examples of ways in which your life has already been affected by this discipline. For instance, what did you have for your last meal and what role did microbes or microbiology play in its preparation?

dg2 Road Stop!
Define the following terms:
microbiology (microbes): ________________________________________________________________

bacteria: _____________________________________________________________________________

Archaea: ______________________________________________________________________________

Domain: _____________________________________________________________________________

Algae: _______________________________________________________________________________

Fungi: _______________________________________________________________________________

Virus: ________________________________________________________________________________

Protozoa: _____________________________________________________________________________

dg2 Reading the Map: Who’s who in Figure 1.2





Figure 1.2: Typical microorganisms

This figure illustrates some of the different types of microorganisms that we will study in this text. Label the appropriate pictures of viruses, algae, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi.

  1. We will study each of these groups in much greater depth in other places in the text, but based on the descriptions on pp. 3-5, what differences define each of these five groups?

dg2 Road Stop (Historical Roots)
Identify the role of the following individuals in establishing microbiology as a scientific discipline:

Robert Hooke________________________________________________________________________

Anton van Leeuwenhoek_______________________________________________________________

Louis Pasteur________________________________________________________________________

Robert Koch_________________________________________________________________________

Lazzaro Spallanzani____________________________________________________________________

Ignaz Semmelweiss____________________________________________________________________

Joseph Lister_________________________________________________________________________

Edward Jenner________________________________________________________________________

Elie Metchnikoff_______________________________________________________________________

Martinus Beijer-inck____________________________________________________________________

Paul Ehrlich__________________________________________________________________________

Alexander Fleming_____________________________________________________________________
Define the germ theory of disease.

dg2 Reading the Map: The role of the ‘swan-necked’ flask in disproving spontaneous generation

Look at Figure 1.8. Note that the thin neck of the flask is open to the air, allowing free exchange of gas between the environment and the flask.

  1. Explain the role of the ‘u’ in the neck in maintaining the sterility of the contents of the flask during this free exchange of gas.

  1. Why is the ‘u’ necessary for this experiment? In other words, why did Pasteur not just create a neck that pointed downward (p. 11)?

  1. Several investigators previously had attempted to convince the scientific community of the time that spontaneous generation did not occur by preparing similar broth solutions in sealed bottles and showing that they did not become contaminated. Based on the text (p. 10-11), why would Pasteur’s experiment not been convincing had he simply sealed the end of the flask?

dg2 Scenic overlook: Koch’s postulates
Robert Koch made many significant contributions to the techniques used in the study of microbiology. Perhaps the most significant were the techniques required to grow microorganisms in pure culture. Central to Koch’s postulates is the need to isolate and purify suspected agents of disease. There are, however, bacterial agents (i.e., Treponema pallidum, the causative agent of syphilis) that remain recalcitrant to being cultured in isolation. What are Koch’s postulates and why is obtaining isolated, purified agent so important to their successful completion?
dg2 Road Stop (Emergence of Special Fields of Microbiology)
Define each of the following specialized fields of microbiology (see also Table 1.2):



Chemotherapy ______________________________________________________________

Molecular Biology____________________________________________________________


dg2 Reaching Your Destination: Compass Checklist Questions
After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer the following checklist questions.

  1. What is microbiology?

Need help? Look at page 3.

  1. What microorganisms do microbiologists study?

Need help? Look at pages 3-6. Review Figure 1.2 to see examples.

  1. What is the germ theory of disease?

Need help? Look at page 10.

  1. What were the major contributions of Louis Pasteur to microbiology?

Need help? Review pages 11-12.

  1. What were the major contributions of Robert Koch to microbiology?

Need help? Look at pages 12-13.

  1. What are Koch’s postulates and how do they relate to the germ theory of disease?

Need help? Look at pages 12-13

  1. What are some of the specialized fields of microbiology that have arisen since the development of the discipline?

Need help? Review Table 1.2.

dg2 Self Quiz
How much did you learn on your journey? Perform a self-diagnostic.

  1. Which of the following is not a subject of investigation by microbiologists?

    1. viruses

    2. fungi

    3. bacteria

    4. algae

    5. protozoa

    6. All of the above are investigated by microbiologists

    7. D and E are not agents investigated by microbiologists

  1. Which of the following microorganisms are acellular?

    1. viruses

    2. bacteria

    3. Archaea

    4. protozoa

    5. fungi

  1. Which of the following microorganism lack a nucleus?

    1. viruses

    2. bacteria

    3. Archaea

    4. protozoa

    5. fungi

    6. All of the above have a nucleus

    7. A, B & C lack nuclei

    8. B & C lack nuclei

  1. Which of the following scientists first observed ‘animicules’ under a microscope?

    1. Robert Hooke

    2. Anton van Leeuwenhoek

    3. Louis Pasteur

    4. Robert Koch

    5. Ignaz Semmelweis

  1. Which of the following scientists used a swan-neck flask to successfully refute spontaneous generation?

    1. Edward Jenner

    2. Anton van Leeuwenhoek

    3. Louis Pasteur

    4. Robert Koch

    5. Lazzaro Spallanzani

  1. Place Koch’s postulates in the correct order:

      1. The disease organism must be isolated in pure culture

      2. The disease organism must be recovered from an inoculated animal

      3. The specific causative agent must be found in every case of the disease

      4. Inoculation of a sample of the culture into a healthy, susceptible animal must produce the same disease

  1. i, ii, iii, iv

  2. ii, i, iv, iii

  3. iii, i, iv, ii

  4. iv, ii, iii, i

  1. Which of the following branches of microbiology is devoted to the study of the spread of disease?

    1. Immunology

    2. Virology

    3. Epidemiology

    4. Chemotherapy

co_compassOff the Map

We now know that microbes are all around and in us. In fact, we are bombarded daily with news stories pertaining to topics of microbiological origin. For students pursuing a career in Allied Health, microbes and microbiology may take an even more central role in the daily routine. Being able to find resources for accurate, informative, and/or entertaining microbiology news is essential to understanding the microscopic world around us. There are a number of excellent resources on the internet; one of these is the website of the premiere microbiology association in the United States, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

Navigate to the home page for ASM (www.asm.org/). While many scientists are members of this society, there is a lot of free content available to anyone that is interested in microbiology and microbiology news.
Under the ‘Publications’ tab, click ‘publications’
On the right panel, there is a list of peer-reviewed journals published by ASM. There are a number of other well-regarded microbiology journals, but if you are interested in primary research articles, these journals are an excellent resource. Although a subscription may be required to access the most recent content, ASM has a policy of allowing open access to articles 6 months or older.

  1. Scan the list of journals provided by ASM. Based on the terminology learned in Chapter 1, you should now be able to recognize the major focus of each of these journals. Identify three journals that may have interest to you in your intended career or perhaps in an upcoming assignment in class.

Under the ‘Newsroom’ tab at the top of the page, click on ‘Microbiology in the news’

This is a weekly digest published by ASM that provides a news round-up of microbiological topics. Links are provided to stories.

  1. Scan the list of news articles. Find three that interest you.

  1. Read the articles that you found. Summarize each article in two or three sentences. Add a sentence indicating why this article interested you.

  1. Were you interested in the three different articles for the same reasons? As you progress through the course, keep returning to this page and track the articles that interest you. As your knowledge of microbiology increases, consider whether your interest broadens, narrows, or remains the same.

  1. If your instructor does not already, consider asking her/him to establish a discussion board or allow class time for the sharing of articles of microbiological interest. Are your classmates interested in the same types of articles that you are?

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