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Getting Started with MicrobeWorld

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Microbial Spore Formation

endospore... Read More

Repair DNA

Developing tricks and tools to keep their enzymes in order is one way thermophiles survive. They also use techniques to keep their DNA from falling apart under intense heat. Like proteins, the parts of the long, spiral ladder-shaped DNA molecule start to unravel and break apart under high hea... Read More

Viral vs. Bacterial Reproduction

Bacteria contain the genetic blueprint (DNA) and all the tools (ribosomes, proteins, etc.) they need to reproduce themselves.

Viruses are moochers. They contain only a limited genetic blueprint and they don't have the necessary building tools. They have to invade other cells and hijack the... Read More

Why is Handwashing Important?

microgrpah Read More

About MicrobeWorld

Summary


Established in 2003, MicrobeWorld is an interactive multimedia educational outreach initiative from the American Society for Microbiology that promotes awareness and understanding of key microbiological issues to adult and youth audiences, and showcases the significance of m... Read More

Where They Live

Our Challenge: Name at least three places microbes live. Can you think of any places that microbes might not live?


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Everyday Roles

Some people think it would be great if scientists could wipe out all the microbial bugs! Should we do it, and why or why not?


We get a lot of requests to track down the nasty bugs that are making people sick. It's true that some microbes cause health problems such as strep throat, chi... Read More

How "Conan the Bacterium "Survives Lethal Radiation Blasts

When you go to the dentist to have your jaws X-rayed, you’ll notice that you have to wear a heavy lead apron—and the person who takes the X-ray leaves the room to do it. X-rays are safe, but these precautions give you some sense of how careful we have to be around even relatively harmless lev... Read More

Beat that Cold

psychrophile2 Read More

Hot! Hot! Hot! But How?

Ever been outside on a day so hot, you said to your friends, "I feel like I’m melting"? Well, of course you were exaggerating. But there are microbes called thermophiles <ther-mo-files>, or heat-lovers, that live in temperatures so hot, the microbes could actually melt if they hadn’t devel... 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

How They’re Different

Although many archaea have tough outer cell walls, these walls contain different kinds of amino acids and sugars than those found in bacteria. Archaeal cell membranes also are chemically distinct from bacterial membranes with differing lipid structures and chemical links. This means that drug... Read More

What They Eat


borrelia Read More

How They Move

Some bacteria have hair- or whip-like appendages called flagella used to ‘swim’ around. Others produce thick coats of slime and ‘glide’ about. Some stick out thin, rigid spikes called fimbriae to help hold them to surfaces. Some contain little particles of minerals t... Read More

Where They’re Found

Bacteria can be found virtually everywhere. They are in the air, the soil, and water, and in and on plants and animals, including us. A single teaspoon of topsoil contains about a billion bacterial cells (and about 120,000 fungal cells and some 25,000 algal cells). The human mouth is home to ... Read More

What They Look Like


Some archaea look like little rods or tiny balls, and some even get around like bacteria, using long hair- or whip-like appendages called flagella that stick out of their cell walls and act like a microscopic outboard motor to get them where they are going.

... 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

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

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

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

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