Microbiology

A look at Microbial Physiology



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Considered a research group of Gram-positive studies, microbial physiology involves microbial function and biology. Simply put, its aims are the "structure-function" relationships of microorganisms, focusing heavily on how the microbes respond to changes within their environment. Research in microbial physiology methods is similar to research in evolution, considered a significant part of the entire research efforts. Evolution, genetics, and ecology of the research areas demonstrate diversity in various extreme environments,in addition to those that are natural.




The two main areas of research involve: actinomycetes -primary and secondary metabolism; and glycoside hydrolase
enzyme studies-its structure and function regarding that which acts on starch or sucrose. These two areas involve a basis for metabolic engineering, with the basis using a mixture or combination of two techniques and approaches: physiological and genetic.




Used are site-directed or random mutagenesis approaches involved in protein engineering steps, in addition to directed evolution. Altogether, huge advances have been made from space exploration to food production, proof that the old argument of "living on a planet of bacteria" is basically true based on researching bugs. An individual by the name of Jacques Monod once surmised that if we could better understand E. coli, we could better understand "Elephant."





This has allowed microbiology to eventually accompany its pre-eminent field in life sciences, with developing proof through molecular techniques that there is an evolutionary significance in microbe biology. With even more developments, certain microorganisms have been used as recent experimental systems for biological studies and their processes, leading to central biological findings. Two years ago a special interest of Science Progress did a double issue on these findings in order to increase our interest in microbiology.




HISTORY OF MICROBIAL PHYSIOLOGY

What is absolutely fascinating is that microbial physiology is a fairly new study of the world's oldest organisms, beginning with Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch. Pasteur began his theories of germs and disease when he began the study of wine fermentation for the French wine industry, and the study of silkworm diseases for the silk industry, both involving the role of living organisms. Through this, he developed his "germ theory of disease" which in turn led to the development of killing bacteria through heat known as pasteurizing.




Robert Koch actually confirmed Louis Pasteur's theory and advanced it even further. With the study of "Bacillus anthracis" jump staring Koch's career, a disease which attacked cattle, he cultured anthrax bacillus. He used the same techniques for tracking and culturing the organism responsible for tuberculosis, winning a Nobel Prize for the TV work, but he is actually known for the four basic principles of bacteriology:



The organism must be present in every case of the disease
The organism must not be present in any other disease as an agent not responsible for disease
The organism must be capable of being isolated
After growth in pure culture, the organism must be able to produce the disease

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