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Bacteriology

glass slide, electron microscope, moist heat, surgical instruments, geneticists

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Bacteriology, study of bacteria, including their classification and the prevention of diseases that arise from bacterial infection. The subject matter of bacteriology is distributed not only among bacteriologists but also among chemists, biochemists, geneticists, pathologists, immunologists, and public-health physicians. Bacteriology is part of the broader field of microbiology, the study of microorganisms.

Sterilization

Drying or freezing kills many species of bacteria and causes others to become inactive. Heat or moist heat above a certain temperature kills all bacteria. Sterilization of many different objects, such as spacecraft and surgical instruments, are important facets of bacteriological work.

Microscopic Examination

The microscope is one of the most important tools used in studying bacteria. Dyeing or staining bacterial specimens or cultures was introduced in 1871 by the German pathologist Karl Weigert and has greatly helped the bacteriologist in identifying and observing bacteria under the microscope. A bacterial specimen is first placed on a glass slide. After the specimen has dried, it is stained to render the organism easier to observe. Stains also stimulate reactions in certain bacteria. For example, the tuberculosis bacillus can be recognized only on the basis of its reaction to certain stains. Bacteriologists have been greatly aided by the electron microscope, which has far greater magnification powers than ordinary microscopes.

Contributors

Garro, Anthony J., Ph.D.

Program Director, Microbiology, Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, City University of New York Medical School.

McBeth, Dani, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, City University of New York Medical School.



Article key phrases:

glass slide, electron microscope, moist heat, surgical instruments, geneticists, biochemists, immunologists, bacterial infection, Sterilization, Microscopic Examination, study of bacteria, Dyeing, prevention of diseases, pathologists, species of bacteria, spacecraft, organism, Drying, classification, basis, example, cultures, reactions

 
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