Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria

Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria

By: Anne E. Maczulak (author)Hardback

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Bacteria are invisible, mysterious, deadly, self-sufficient...and absolutely essential for all life, including yours. No other living things combine their elegant simplicity with their incredibly complex role: Bacteria keep us alive, supply our food, and regulate our biosphere. We can't live a day without them, and no chemical, antibiotic, or irradiation has ever successfully eradicated them. They're our partners, like it or not--even though some of them will happily kill us. Allies and Enemies tells the story of this amazing, intimate partnership. Authored by Anne Maczulak, a microbiologist who's hunted and worked with an extraordinary array of bacteria, this book offers a powerful new perspective on Earth's oldest creatures. You'll discover how bacteria work, how they evolve, their surprising contributions and uses, the roles they've played in human history, and why you can't survive without them. No form of life is more important, and in Maczulak's hands, none is more fascinating. Outlasted, outnumbered, outsmarted They've been here four billion years--and they even outnumber you in your own body How bacteria keep you alive...and how to keep them from killing you "Humans Defeat Germs! " But not for long...The Invisible Universe The stunning hidden relationships between bacteria and the rest of nature

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About Author

Anne Maczulak grew up in Watchung, New Jersey, with a plan to become either a writer or a biologist. She completed undergraduate and master's studies in animal nutrition at The Ohio State University, her doctorate nutrition and microbiology from the University of Kentucky, and conducted postdoctoral studies at the New York State Department of Health. She also holds an MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. Anne began her training as a microbiologist studying the bacteria and protozoa of human and animal digestive tracts. She is one of a relatively small group of microbiologists who were trained in the Hungate method of culturing anaerobic microbes, meaning microbes that cannot live if exposed to oxygen. In industry, Anne worked in microbiology laboratories at Fortune 500 companies, developing anti-dandruff shampoos, deodorants, water purifiers, drain openers, septic tank cleaners, and disinfectants--all products that relate to the world of microbes. She conducted research in the University of California-San Francisco's dermatology group, testing wound-healing medications, antimicrobial soaps, and foot fungus treatments. In graduate school, other students and a few professors had seemed nonplussed when Anne filled her elective schedule with literature courses. Anne was equally surprised to learn that so many of her peers in science found pursuit of the arts to be folly. In 1992, with more than a decade of "growing bugs" on her resume, she packed up and drove from the east coast to California to begin a new career as a writer while keeping microbiology her day job. And yes, it was possible to be both a writer and a scientist. While toiling evenings on a mystery novel set in a microbiology lab, Anne continued working on various laboratory projects intended either to utilize good microbes or eliminate deadly ones. A decade later, Anne began her career as an independent consultant and has successfully blended writing with biology. Although the mystery novel never made it off the ground, Anne has since published ten books on microbes and environmental science. She focuses on making highly technical subjects easy to understand. From her unique perspective, Anne inspires her audiences into wanting to know more about microbes, and perhaps even like them.


Acknowledgments viii About the Author ix Introduction 1 Chapter 1 Why the world needs bacteria 7 Tricks in bacterial survival 9 Bacterial communities 13 Under the microscope 16 The size of life 20 The bacteria of the human body 25 The origins of our bacteria 29 One planet 32 Chapter 2 Bacteria in history 35 The ancients 37 The legacy of bacterial pathogens 39 The plague 42 Microbiologists save the day 46 Unheralded heroes of bacteriology 50 On the front 58 Chapter 3 "Humans defeat germs!"(but not for long) 63 What is an antibiotic? 64 Inventing drugs is like making sausage 68 Mutant wars 73 Bacteria share their DNA 77 The opportunists 78 Chapter 4 Bacteria in popular culture 83 Bacteria and art 83 Bacteria in the performing arts 84 Friends and enemies 89 Do bacteria devour art? 91 Chapter 5 An entire industry from a single cell 99 E. coli 103 The power of cloning 106 A chain reaction 109 Bacteria on the street 112 Anthrax 116 Why we will always need bacteria 117 Chapter 6 The invisible universe 121 Versatility begets diversity 124 Cyanobacteria 128 Bacterial protein factories 131 How to build an ecosystem 135 Feedback and ecosystem maintenance 138 Macrobiology 141 Chapter 7 Climate, bacteria, and a barrel of oil 145 The story of oil 147 Bacteria power 149 How is a cow like a cockroach? 150 Microscopic power plants 154 The waste problem 155 Bacteria on Mars 160 Shaping the planet 162 Epilogue How microbiologists grow bacteria 165 Serial dilution 165 Counting bacteria 167 Logarithms 168 Anaerobic microbiology 169 Aseptic technique 170 Appendix Resources for learning more about bacteria 173 Internet resources on bacteria 173 Book resources on bacteria 173 Classic reading on bacteria 174 Bacteria rule references 175 Index 197

Product Details

  • publication date: 12/07/2010
  • ISBN13: 9780137015467
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 224
  • ID: 9780137015467
  • weight: 435
  • ISBN10: 0137015461

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