Viruses may be referred to often as the smallest infectious things. But there are some smaller contenders. Some of the agents of plant disease lack even a viral coat and are merely small strings of plain, or "naked," RNA. These particles are called viroids. They are believed ... Read More
The name protozoa means “first animals.” As the principal hunters and grazers of the microbial world, protozoa play a key role in maintaining the balance of bacterial, algal, and other microbial life. They also are themselves an important food source for larger creatures and the basis of many fo... Read More
Fungi can be found in rising bread, moldy bread, and old food in the refrigerator, and on forest floors. Most decompose non-living things, but some damage crops and plants. A few cause problems in people, such as Candida, which causes yeast infections.... Read More
Most fungi can best be described as grazers, but a few are active hunters.
Collaborations on a Minute Scale
Over millions of years of evolution, we humans have worked out a mutually beneficial partnership with the microbes that came to inhabit our guts. In ... Read More
The most clearly plant-like algae, this species gets its namesake hue from high levels of chlorophyll.
Their cell walls are made up of cellulose, the same material that makes up the cell walls in larger, multicellular plants. Like plants, they store the food they make through photosyn... Read More
Algae also play an important role as the foundation for the aquatic food chain. All higher aquatic life forms depend either directly or indirectly on microscopic gardens of algae.
Fungi absorb nutrients from living or dead organic matter (plant or animal stuff) that they grow on. They absorb simple, easily dissolved nutrients, such as sugars, through their cell walls. They give off special digestive enzymes to break down complex nutrient... Read More
Microbiologists perform a wide range of jobs and activities, and the tools they use are just as diverse. The instruments and techniques that microbiologists use range from the simplest to the most complex.
Microbes require nutrients to grow. These are supplied by either solid or liquid culture media. The standard solid medium is nutrient agar, a gelatinous substance derived from seaweed. The basic liquid medium is nutrient broth, typically a mix of water, meat extract peptone, and sodium chlori... Read More
When microbiologists want to identify microbes in a sample or study microbes in-depth, they often try to culture, or grow, the microbial cells in their labs. The scientists can then manipulate the cells or their environments to see what effects these changes have on the organisms.