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Define and discuss the scope of Microbiology

Study of microscopic organisms (organisms that

are invisible to the naked eye)

All organisms other than viruses and prions are

made up of cells.
Prions: infectious particle that lacks nucleic acids

and replicates by converting similar normal proteins into new prions.

All other organisms have a cellular organization

On completion of this module you should be able to

define and discuss the scope of Microbiology

learn why you study Microbiology

learn History and Development of Microbiology

discuss the slow rate of spontaneous generation

discuss the role of a Medical Microbiologist

It is the study of their




It is the study of their

Classification Distribution in nature Relation with each other & other living organisms

Ability to change physically and chemically

Their reaction to physical & chemical agents

Classification of Microorganisms
Bacteria: simple, single cell (prokaryotic cells

with cell walls and peptidoglycan).

Fungi: single & multi cellular forms - yeast,

filamentous molds, and complex fungi.

Viruses : acellular, intracellular parasites

Protists : single cell, some multicellular - algae,

protozoans, slime molds Worms : multicellular, more complex

Impact on Human Health
Balance of Nature : food source, play a role in

decomposition, help other animals digest grass (cattle, sheep, termites).

Environmental : provide safe drinking water;

development of biodegradable products; use bacteria to clean up oil spills, etc. called


Industrial : foodstuffs (beer, wine, cheese,

bread), antibiotics, insulin, genetic engineering

Agricultural : research has led to healthier

livestock and disease-free crops.

Bacteriology: study of bacteria

Bacteria are prokaryotes, all other organisms are

eukaryotes. How may bacteria obtain energy?

heterotrophs : depend on outside sources of

organic molecules (ex. carbohydrates or sugars) for energy

A distinct nucleus is absent
DNA is in the form of a single circular

chromosome Additional DNA is carried in

Transcription and translation can be carried out


How may bacteria obtain energy?

heterotrophs: depend on outside sources of

organic molecules (ex. carbohydrates or sugars) for energy

chemosynthetic autotrophs: process inorganic

molecules for energy (ex. sulfur or iron).

photosynthetic autotrophs: use energy from the

sun to produce their own carbohydrates for


Bacteria are prokaryotes. Their DNA is not

contained within a nucleus and there are relatively few cytoplasmic organelles.
The cell wall is a key structure in metabolism,

virulence and immunity.

Bacteria are prokaryotes. Their DNA is not

contained within a nucleus and there are relatively few cytoplasmic organelles
The cell wall is a key structure in metabolism,

virulence and immunity

Bacteria metabolize aerobically and anaerobically

can utilize a range of subtrates

Gram positive and Gram negative

The cell wall staining characteristics define the

two major divisions:

the Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.

Flagella may be present and confer motility.

Bacteria metabolize aerobically and

anaerobically and can utilize a range of substrates.

The bacterial cell wall and their reproductive

processes are targets for antimicrobial agents

Transcription of bacterial DNA may involve single

or multiple genes. The arrangement of promoter and terminal sequences flanking multiple genes forms an operon
Bacteria can regulate gene expression to optimize

exploitation of their environment.

Bacterial structure

Plasmids and bacteriophages are independently

replicating extrachromosomal agents. Plasmids may also carry genes that affect resistance to antimicrobials or virulence. Genetic material can be carried from one bacterium to another in several ways; this can result in the rapid spread of resistance to antimicrobials. Genomics is revolutionizing the study and the control of bacterial infections.

Specialised Techniques Required to isolate

Culture: On specialised media

Mycology:study of fungi (singular: fungus)

Fungi: eukaryotic cells lacking cell walls and

contain nucleus of genetic material surrounded by a membrane

Fungi are eukaryotes, but are quite distinct from

plants and animals. Characteristically, they are

multinucleate or multicellular organisms with a

thick chitin-containing cell wall

DNA is carried on several chromosomes within a

The nucleus is bounded by a nuclear membrane

Transcription requires formation of messenger

RNA (mRNA) and movement of mRNA out of the

nucleus into the cytoplasm

Mycology:study of fungi (singular: fungus)

They may grow as thread-like filaments (hyphae),

but many other growth forms occur

Fungi are ubiquitous as free-living organisms and

are of enormous importance commercially in baking, brewing and in pharmaceuticals

Normal flora,

Characteristics of fungi
unicellular or multicellular (yeasts are unicellular,

molds are multicellular) nonmotile How do they obtain their energy? heterotrophs Why are they ecologically important? Scavengers: they live off dead matter and thus, decompose it.


superficial mycoses where the fungus grows at the body

surface on skin or hair

cutaneous and subcutaneous mycoses where nails and

deeper layers of the skin are involved

systemic or deep mycoses with involvement of internal

organs. This category includes the opportunistic fungi

that cause disease in patients with compromised immune systems

Two ways of Classifying fungi

Fungi are distinct from plants and animals, have a

thick chitinous cell wall, and grow as filaments (hyphae) or single-celled yeasts
Species causing disease may be acquired from the

environment or occur as part of the normal flora. Infections may be located superficially, in cutaneous and subcutaneous sites, or in deep tissues
Infections are most serious in immunocompromised


All organisms other than viruses and prions are made up of cells
Viruses have genetic material (DNA or RNA) but lack

cell membranes, cytoplasm and the machinery for synthesizing macromolecules, depending instead upon host cells for this process
Conventional viruses have their genetic material

packed in capsules

All organisms other than viruses and prions are made up of cells
Prions cause diseases such as:
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease kuru, scrapie and bovine spongiform

encephalopathy (BSE) appear to lack nucleic acid and consist only of proteinaceous infectious particles.

All organisms other than viruses and prions are made up of cells
All other organisms have a cellular organization Their bodies being made up of single cells (most

'microbes') or of many cells

Each cell has genetic material (DNA) and

cytoplasm with synthetic machinery, and is bounded by a cell membrane

Normally Microorganisms are unicellular

Bacteria are prokaryotes, all other organisms are

There are many differences between the two major

divisions-prokaryotes and eukaryotes-of cellular organisms

Summary of Bacteria

Two ways to classify fungi

Protozoa are single-celled animals, ranging in size

from 2 m to 100 m

Many species are free-living, but others are

important parasites of humans

Some free-living species can infect humans

opportunistically, and some parasites cause severe disease only in immunocompromised individuals

Infections are most prevalent in tropical and


subtropical regions, but also occur in temperate regions Protozoa may cause disease directly (e.g. the rupture of red cells in malaria), but more often the pathology is caused by the host's response Most infections are not life threatening (except in immunocompromised patients), but malaria kills more than 1.5 million people each year, mostly young children

Protozoa can infect all the major tissues and organs of the body
Protozoa infect body tissues and organs such as:

Intracellular parasites in a wide variety of cells (red

cells, macrophages, epithelial cells, brain, muscle)

Extracellular parasites in the blood, intestine or

urinogenital system.

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Viruses differ from all other organisms in their

structure and biology, particularly in their reproduction Although viruses carry conventional genetic information in their DNA or RNA, they lack the synthetic machinery necessary for this information to be processed into new virus material

A virus by itself is metabolically inert-it can

replicate only after infection of a host cell, when it can parasitize the host's ability to transcribe and/or translate genetic information

Viruses infect every form of life
They cause some of the commonest and many of

the most serious diseases of humans


Some insert their genetic material into the human

genome and can cause cancer

Viruses are difficult targets for chemotherapy, but

many can be controlled by effective vaccines

Viruses share some common structural features

Viruses range from very small (poliovirus, at 30

nm) to quite large (vaccinia virus, at 400 nm, is

as big as small bacteria). Their organization varies considerably between the different groups, but there are some general characteristics common to all:

Viruses share some common structural features

The genetic material, in the form of singlestranded (ss) or double-stranded (ds), linear or circular RNA or DNA, is contained within a capsule or capsid, made up of a number of individual protein molecules (capsomeres). The complete unit of nucleic acid and capsid is called the 'nucleocapsid', and often has a distinctive symmetry depending upon the ways in which the individual capsomeres are assembled Symmetry can be icosahedral, helical or complex.

Viruses share some common structural

In many cases the entire 'virus particle' or 'virion'

consists only of a nucleocapsid In others the virion consists of the nucleocapsid surrounded by an outer envelope or membrane This is generally a lipid bilayer of host cell origin, into which virus proteins and glycoproteins are inserted

Symmetry and Construction of viral nuleocapsid

Construction of an enveloped virus

Virus particles enter the body of the host in many ways

Via inhaled droplets (e.g. rhinovirus)

In food or water (e.g. hepatitis A)

By direct transfer from other infected hosts (e.g. HIV) From bites of vector arthropods (e.g. yellow fever)

Routes by which viruses enter the body

Spontaneous Generation Theory