In the last 100 years a combination of traditional and molecular methods have forged microbiology into a premier experimental science. Moreover, the link between discovery and application in the field of microbiology, a classic example of which is depicted on the front cover of this book, has deep roots and becomes stronger all the time. One of the giants of early microbiology was the Dutchman, Martinus Beijerinck. Beijerinck is credited with many original discoveries in microbiology, especially in the area of enrichment and isolation of soil bacteria. Shown on the front cover is a page from Beijerinck’s laboratory notebook dated June 9, 1887. On this page he made detailed notes and drawings about the bacteria that he cultured from the root nodules of leguminous plants - bacteria that were later discovered to fix atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into a form usable by the plant. Modern agriculture has exploited microbial nitrogen fixation by root nodule bacteria for the large-scale cultivation of nitrogen-fixing crops like peas and soybeans. The paintings of bacterial cells that overlay the notebook page, done in large format by Beijerinck’s sister, Henriette, were Beijerinck’s way of illustrating his microscopic observations during his lectures in an era long before slide projectors and computer presentations.
Over the past 30 years eight editions of Biology of Microorganisms have introduced the field of microbiology to hundreds of thousands of students. As we enter a new millennium, this ninth edition of Brock Biology of Microorganisms promises to be a classic among microbiology textbooks with its modern treatment of microbiology firmly rooted in fundamental principles.
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