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Getting Started with MicrobeWorld

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Fungi

Fungi straddle the realms of microbiology and macrobiology.

They range in size from the single-celled organism we know as yeast to the largest known living organism on Earth — a 3.5-mile-wide mushroom.

Dubbed “the humongous fungus,” this honey mushroom (Armillar... Read More

Notable Bacteria



  • Bacillus anthracis causes anthrax, a deadly disease in cattle and a potential bioweapon against humans




  • .Brucella abortus causes breeding losses in livestock.




  • Cyanobacteria (formerly known as blue-green algae) live in water, where they prod... Read More

What They Eat


borrelia Read More

Friendly Fungi

Some fungi are quite useful to us. We've tapped several kinds to make antibiotics to fight bacterial infections. These antibiotics are based on natural compounds the fungi produce to compete against bacteria for nutrients and space. We use Saccharomyces cerevisiae (sack-air-oh-my... Read More

Fungal Enemies

There are some nasty fungi that cause diseases in plants, animals and people. One of the most famous is Phytophthora infestans (fie-tof-thor-uh in-fes-tuhns), which caused the Great Potato Famine in Ireland in the mid-1800s that resulted in a million deaths. See the Read More

Where They’re Found


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

What They Look Like


strep Read More

Fungal Growth and Reproduction

As the “humongous fungus” shows, fungi can grow to enormous mass if unimpeded.

Hyphae grow by adding cells at the tip. Hyphae are very tiny, measuring only a few microns in diameter in some cases. But they can also be incredibly strong, punching through not only the soft membranes of animal ... Read More

Water Molds


Water molds are always found in wet environments, especially in fresh water sources and near the upper layers of moist soil.

Officially named Oomycota, they are also known as downy mildews and white rusts.

Water molds were long considered ... Read More

What They Are

A virus is basically a tiny bundle of genetic material—either DNA or RNA—carried in a shell called the viral coat, or capsid, which is made up of bits of protein called capsomeres. Some viruses have an additional layer around this coat called an envelope. That's basically all there is to viru... Read More

What is a Microbe?

MicrobesMicrobes are single-cell organi... Read More

Mouthless, Gutless Worms

In the deepest sea, where not a single photon of sunlight ever penetrates, life persists in eternal darkness, crowded around chemical- and lava-spewing fissures in the ocean’s floor. Life around these hydrothermal vents includes shrimp, crabs, and tall, slender tubeworms.... Read More

Mitochondria and Chloroplasts




The Partnerships That Led to Higher Life


If you could peer deep into one of the many cells in your body, you’d see little blobs, squiggles, and coils. These are the cel... Read More

Lichens

Lichens: When Fungi and Algae (or Cyanobacteria) Merged


Fungi feed themselves quite ably, absorbing nutrients from organic materials. Algae and cyanobacteria are also adept at providing for their own nutritional needs by turning sunlight into energy through photosynthesis.


Y... Read More

Careers in Microbiology

Types of Careers

scientist in lab Read More

Light

Basic Light Microscope Read More

Microscopes

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Tools of the Trade


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.


tool_0_6 Read More

Ant Farmers and Gardens of Fungi


Ant Farmers and Their Gardens of Fungi


It’s not clear precisely how and why some ancestral species of ant first took up fungus farming, but scientists have determined by genetic testing that it happened about 50 million years ago.


Read More

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