by Daniel P. Haeusser
Next semester I'll be starting a course co-taught with another member of the Canisius College Biology Department that integrates concepts from Environmental and Pathogenic Microbiology. After all, what is pathogenic disease other than the ecology of microbes interacting within the host's environment? There are many books I have piled to mention here in a future post, but for now I thought I'd share two pairs of recent titles that I'm reading and referencing for topics to include in this integrative course.
A Pair of Review Anthologies
Metabolism and Bacterial Pathogenesis (2015) Edited by Tyrrell Conway and Paul Cohen, ASM Press. ISBN: 9781555818869. 382 pages, hardback.
"…although several factors could theoretically contribute to a microorganism's ability to colonize the intestinal ecosystem, effective completion for nutrients is paramount to success." So the editors reference researcher Rolf Freter in their introduction to this new integrative text. This volume highlights this truth with a biochemical focus on bacterial pathogens and the human host. This includes chapters on enteric, respiratory, urinary tract, and intracellular pathogens. Some chapters also focus attention on the role of commensal communities, such as in dental plaque or in the gut through interaction with host immunity. More species-specific topics include central carbon metabolism by Borrelia burgdorferi, regulation of E. coli fimbriae by host sialic acid, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa metabolism during infection of cystic fibrosis patients. Though it is sparse in its figures, this is a timely and information-rich collection that should be a welcome resource for many microbiologists.
Climate Change and Microbial Ecology: Current Research and Future Trends (2016) Edited by Jürgen Marxsen, Caister Academic Press. ISBN: 9781910190319. 203 pages, paperback.
As one might expect, this new text nicely reviews important topics in environmental microbiology research related to the increasing trends of global climate change. Editor Marxsen does a great job with the breadth of coverage, including chapters on viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protists alike, in a range of environments from marine, freshwater, to soil. Chapters address both the data that is known regarding alterations in biochemistry, biogeology, and community interactions due to climate change, but also highlight areas where data is particularly lacking, such as in sediments and inland waters. The first chapters also incorporate relevance to rising pathogenic risks due to climate change through alterations in abundance of cyanobacteria or Vibrio species, or expansion of freshwater parasite ranges. With multiple black-and-white and color figures typical of journal review articles in each chapter this is impressive short overview of a topic with likely broad student appeal.
A Pair of References
Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 2 Volumes, 11th Edition (2015) Edited by Jorgensen et al., ASM Press. ISBN: 9781555817374. 2571 pages (plus introductions & indices), hardback.
Many readers of this blog are doubtless already aware of this extensive and essential reference for current information and practice related to clinical microbiology. Covering organismal biology, disease characteristics, research and diagnostic techniques, antimicrobial agents, and safety practices, the recent eleventh edition incorporates the latest findings, particularly the growing genomic and proteomic data available for pathogens. For general interest readers the opening section of the first volume has excellent chapters of basic information on topics such as microscopy, molecular epidemiology, biothreat agents, and the human microbiome. The remainder of the first volume deals with bacteriology, while the second volume covers virology, mycology, and parasitology. This is obviously an important resource for clinical microbiologists, but it also makes a useful go-to reference for summary and facts needed for teaching the medical/clinical side of the field.
Practical Handbook of Microbiology, 3rd Edition (2015) Edited by Emanuel Goldman and Lorrence H. Green, CRC Press. ISBN: 9781466587397. 1055 pages, hardback.
For those that may not get much use out of the mammoth two-volume reference above, but would appreciate a more compact volume that also extends past clinical application, this volume may be of interest. As with the text above, this handbook starts with a section of chapters that cover general microbiological practices and principles, including sterilization, antibiotics, identification and quantitation, and epidemiology. A particularly fascinating chapter on the “Business of Microbiology” ends the first section, with details on hospital management, health insurance, and government regulations (among others). The second section narrows focus to specific groups of organisms with greatest emphasis on bacteria. But it also includes chapters on viruses (including some on phage), fungi, parasites, and archaea. The lack of figures in this handbook makes it unsuitable for something like an undergraduate textbook, but as a supplementary resource for student or instructor it would be very beneficial in its comprehensive scope across general microbiology.
Daniel is an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department of Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. He teaches courses in the freshman and sophomore introductory sequence, General Microbiology, and an integrated Environmental & Pathogenic Microbiology course. In his lab he focuses on undergraduate research mentoring through projects on bacterial cell division and phage factors that subvert the bacterial cytoskeleton. In addition to science, he enjoys reading, writing, and film. He can be found on Twitter and his book reviews at Reading 1000 Lives or on Goodreads.