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Unformatted text preview: Topic 1: Microbiology in context Welcome to Biology 140! Fundamentals of Microbiology (Biology 140) Course notes Dr. Josh D. Neufeld In this course, you will be introduced to the world of microorganisms, learn how these organisms are studied, and become aware of the position, role and importance of microorganisms in the world. Microbiology is a science that is not much more than a century old. It is thus a young, vigorous and modern science. Microbiology has had profound influence on almost every sector of human interest: health, agriculture, food and environment. It has given rise to molecular biology and biotechnology. Even if you do not plan to specialize in microbiology, it is important to develop an understanding of microbiology and the microbial impact on our lives. While one of the most important drivers for the development of the science of microbiology was the recognition that many diseases are caused by microorganisms, in reality, only a very small fraction of microorganisms cause disease. In fact, for most of the time that microorganisms have existed on earth, there were no multicellular organisms available to infect. The physiological activities of microorganisms resulted in the formation of a `biosphere', that allowed some of them to evolve into multicellular organisms. Even today, microorganisms comprise >50% of the Earth's biomass. The overwhelming majority of these microorganisms are "friendly". Microorganisms have been very important as model systems in the study of biochemistry and genetics. Most of the fundamental biochemical and genetic principles of life were developed through the study of microorganisms. Microbial cells can be cultured to high densities in the laboratory, facilitating biochemical analysis, and they are easy to manipulate genetically. Although microbial cells do not differentiate into distinct tissues, as multicellular organisms do, they do associate with other similar cells as populations. These populations associate with other populations in communities. Interactions within microbial communities occur at several levels, with waste products of some organisms provided as nutrient for other organisms. In the process, the properties of a given ecosystem are often altered. Microorganisms have fascinated me since I was first introduced to their world as an undergraduate student. I am looking forward to sharing some of the wonders of this world with you. I hope that you enjoy the course. There are a few things I would like to point out at the beginning of this course-- 1. For all matters pertaining to Biol 140L, please contact Dr. Cheryl Duxbury. Fundamentals of Microbiology (Biology 140) Course notes Dr. Josh D. Neufeld 2. Notes and printer-friendly Powerpoint files will be available for download before each lecture. I suggest printing them out. Note that the Powerpoint files can be printed with multiple slides per page. This will save paper and toner. In addition, you should be taking your own notes in lectures. 3. I recommend going over the notes before the lecture, and then again within a day following the lecture. Also, read the corresponding sections of the textbook. This will reinforce the material, and make studying for exams much easier. 4. If you have any difficulties, or would like to ask me questions about the Biol 140 course, the material, or microbiology in general, please visit me in my office (B1-275; Office hours are Mondays from 3:30-5 PM and Tuesdays from 4-5 PM) or send me an email at [email protected] Use your UW-ACE or "uwaterloo.ca" email accounts for correspondence. ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/31/2011 for the course BIOL 140 taught by Professor Dr.joshneufeld during the Fall '10 term at Waterloo.
- Fall '10