Allies and Enemies How the World Depends on Bacteria

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-07-12
  • Publisher: Ft Pr
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Self-sufficient, invisible, mysterious, deadly - and absolutely essential for all life,including you. Theyrs"re the Earthrs"s bacteria, and theyrs"ve been here forfour billion years. No other living thing combines their elegant simplicity with their incredibly complex role: bacteria keep us alive, supply our food, and regulate our biosphere. We canrs"t live a day without them, and no chemical, antibiotic, or irradiation has ever successfully eradicated them. Wers"re hopelessly outnumbered by bacteria: there are at least ten times as many bacterial cells in and on your body as there are human cells. Theyrs"re our partners, like it or not, even though some of them will happily kill us.Allies and Enemies: How the World Depends on Bacteria tells the story of the amazing, intimate partnership. Authored by Anne Maczulak, a microbiologist whors"s hunted and worked with an extraordinary array of bacteria, it offers a powerful new perspective on Earthrs"s oldest creatures. Yours"ll discover how bacteria work, how they evolve, their surprising contributions and uses, and the roles theyrs"ve played in human history. No form of life is more important and in Anne Maczulakrs"s hands, no form of life is more fascinating

Author Biography

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.


Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. viii
About the Authorp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Why the world needs bacteriap. 7
Tricks in bacterial survivalp. 9
Bacterial communitiesp. 13
Under the microscopep. 16
The size of lifep. 20
The bacteria of the human bodyp. 25
The origins of our bacteriap. 29
One planetp. 32
Bacteria in historyp. 35
The ancientsp. 37
The legacy of bacterial pathogensp. 39
The plaguep. 42
Microbiologists save the dayp. 46
Unheralded heroes of bacteriologyp. 50
On the frontp. 58
"Humans defeat germs!" (but not for long)p. 63
What is an antibiotic?p. 64
Inventing drugs is like making sausagep. 68
Mutant warsp. 73
Bacteria share their DNAp. 77
The opportunistsp. 78
Bacteria in popular culturep. 83
Bacteria and artp. 83
Bacteria in the performing artsp. 84
Friends and enemiesp. 89
Do bacteria devour art?p. 91
An entire industry from a single cellp. 99
E. colip. 103
The power of cloningp. 106
A chain reactionp. 109
Bacteria on the streetp. 112
Anthraxp. 116
Why we will always need bacteriap. 117
The invisible universep. 121
Versatility begets diversityp. 124
Cyanobacteriap. 128
Bacteria protein factoriesp. 131
How to build an ecosystemp. 135
Feedback and ecosystem maintenancep. 138
Macrobiologyp. 141
Climate, bacteria, and a barrel of oilp. 145
The story of oilp. 147
Bacteria powerp. 149
How is a cow like a cockroach?p. 150
Microscopic power plantsp. 154
The waste problemp. 155
Bacteria on Marsp. 160
Shaping the planetp. 162
Epilogue: How microbiologists grow bacteriap. 165
Serial dilutionp. 165
Counting bacteriap. 167
Logarithmsp. 168
Anaerobic microbiologyp. 169
Aseptic techniquep. 170
Resources for learning more about bacteriap. 173
Internet resources on bacteriap. 173
Book resources on bacteriap. 173
Classic reading on bacteriap. 174
Bacteria rule referencesp. 175
Indexp. 197
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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