When most people hear the word "bacteria" they think of food poisoning; infections; and acute, debilitating, or fatal diseases. Yet, while E. coli, strep, and other bacterial pathogens certainly cause their share of misery in the world, they are only a tiny portion of a vast universe of microorganisms—the most basic of life forms. Without them, nothing else could live or grow on Planet Earth. Bacteria: The Benign, the Bad, and the Beautiful introduces you to this diverse, microscopic world and explains the fundamental microbiological concepts you need to explore the life and behavior of bacteria. Even if you have no previous background in the subject, the book's clear, jargon-free language tells you what you need to know about:
The origins and evolution of bacteria
Some of the fundamental ways in which bacteria have shaped the world
Bacteria commonly found in the healthy human body
Antibiotics and the growing problem of resistance
Marine microbiology, bacterial toxins, and enzymes
Bacterial genetics and genomics
Bacteria that survive in extreme environments, such as boiling water
And much more
This comprehensive guide features custom-drawn, black-and-white illustrations by artist Karoly Farkas, and it illuminates its points through real-world examples and engaging stories. Discrete, topic-by-topic structure, text-box summaries of background science, and a helpful glossary make for quick and easy reference. Whether you are a science professional in need of information on bacteria outside of your specialty, a student in search of a solid introduction, or a curious reader looking for fascinating and reliable information, Bacteria: The Benign, the Bad, and the Beautiful is the resource you need.
Every animal, whether human, squid, or wasp, is home to millions of bacteria and other microbes. Ed Yong, whose humor is as evident as his erudition, prompts us to look at ourselves and our animal companions in a new light—less as individuals and more as the interconnected, interdependent multitudes we assuredly are.
The microbes in our bodies are part of our immune systems and protect us from disease. In the deep oceans, mysterious creatures without mouths or guts depend on microbes for all their energy. Bacteria provide squid with invisibility cloaks, help beetles to bring down forests, and allow worms to cause diseases that afflict millions of people.
Many people think of microbes as germs to be eradicated, but those that live with us—the microbiome—build our bodies, protect our health, shape our identities, and grant us incredible abilities. In this astonishing book, Ed Yong takes us on a grand tour through our microbial partners, and introduces us to the scientists on the front lines of discovery. It will change both our view of nature and our sense of where we belong in it.
Ebola, SARS, Hendra, AIDS, and countless other deadly viruses all have one thing in common: the bugs that transmit these diseases all originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. In this gripping account, David Quammen takes the reader along on this astonishing quest to learn how, where from, and why these diseases emerge and asks the terrifying question: What might the next big one be?
After four decades of assuming that the conquest of all infectous diseases was imminent, people on all continents now find themselves besieged by AIDS, drug-resistant tuberculosis, cholera that defies chlorine water treatment, and exotic viruses that can kill in a matter of hours.
Based on extensive interviews with leading experts in virology, molecular biology, disease ecology and medicine, as well as field research in sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe, Central America and the United States, The Coming Plague takes readers from the savannas of eastern Bolivia to the rain forests of northern Zaire on a harrowing, fifty year journey through our battles with the microbes, and tells us what must be done to prevent the coming plague.
Microbiology is a fascinating field that explores life down to the tiniest level. Did you know that your body contains more bacteria cells than human cells? It's true. Microbes are essential to our everyday lives, from the food we eat to the very internal systems that keep us alive. These microbes include bacteria, algae, fungi, viruses, and nematodes. Without microbes, life on Earth would not survive. It's amazing to think that all life is so dependent on these microscopic creatures, but their impact on our future is even more astonishing. Microbes are the tools that allow us to engineer hardier crops, create better medicines, and fuel our technology in sustainable ways. Microbes may just help us save the world.
Microbiology For Dummies is your guide to understanding the fundamentals of this enormously-encompassing field. Whether your career plans include microbiology or another science or health specialty, you need to understand life at the cellular level before you can understand anything on the macro scale.Explore the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells Understand the basics of cell function and metabolism Discover the differences between pathogenic and symbiotic relationships Study the mechanisms that keep different organisms active and alive
You need to know how cells work, how they get nutrients, and how they die. You need to know the effects different microbes have on different systems, and how certain microbes are integral to ecosystem health. Microbes are literally the foundation of all life, and they are everywhere. Microbiology For Dummies will help you understand them, appreciate them, and use them.