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Unformatted text preview: BIOL 140 Complete Notes Module 1: Introduction Lecture 1 Material Why Study Microbiology? • Firstly, what is microbiology? How old is this field? And what did this study give rise to? o It is the science of microorganisms (organisms that are very small and unicellular) o It is only a century old (before then, microscopes weren't powerful enough) o Microbiology has given rise to molecular biology and biotechnology • What phylogenic domains include organisms which are considered to be microbes? o Prokaryotic domains: archaea and bacteria o Eukaryotic domains: algae, fungi, and protozoa • What are fundamental processes which microbes (like all other organisms) participate in? Expound on each as necessary. o Metabolism: take up nutrients, make energy, use energy, etc. o Reproduction: make new cells (binary fission is a biggie in this field) o Differentiation: creating a new cell structure UN-identical from the old one (i.e. spore production) o Communication: sending chemicals back and forth to act as signals o Movement: think about flagella, etc. o Evolution: this is what phylogenetic trees are all about • Explain how microorganisms set the stage for life on earth as we know it today. o They were the first life on earth because they were able to tolerate a wider variety of environmental conditions than we can • In particular, blue-green algae called cyanobacteria came first because they didn't need oxygen and could extract energy from the sun • Note that even cyanobacteria had to come from some universal ancestor that eventually gave rise to all organisms (phylogenetic trees show us that everything is related on at least SOME level) o Eventually, their cellular processes (i.e. the production of oxygen!) created a biosphere where we could survive o When this happened, multi- cellular organisms evolved from microorganisms • Talk about microorganisms now and in the future. o More than 50% of the biomass on earth is microorganisms (i.e. if you take all the carbon and weigh it) o Microorganisms will be on earth forever because they are so diverse and easily adaptable that they can handle any change in living conditions • Name and comment on 5 major areas of applied microbiology. o Agriculture: there are many microbiological processes which are essential in agriculture • For example, bacteria accumulate in the root nodules of alfalfa plants and "fix nitrogen", which means they turn nitrogen into ammonia, which is needed by the plant to grow • This saves the farmers from having to use fertilizer, which is damaging to the environment o Energy/environment: microbiological processes can be used to make fuels (i.e. corn -> ethanol), to clean up pollutant spills by consuming the undesirable substance, and so on o Disease: lots of diseases (especially infectious ones) have a microbiological basis, and so understanding and research of microbiology in this respect can help us cure the diseases o Food: microbiology helps us to understand why we have to preserve foods, etc.Food: microbiology helps us to understand why we have to preserve foods, etc....
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This note was uploaded on 07/18/2011 for the course BIOL 140 taught by Professor Dr.joshneufeld during the Spring '10 term at Waterloo.
- Spring '10