Essential Microbiology is a comprehensive introductory text aimed at students taking a first course in the subject. Covering all aspects of microbiology, it describes the structure and function of microbes before considering their place in the the living world. The second half of the book focuses on applied aspects such as genetic engineering, industrial microbiology and the control of microorganisms.
Adopting a modern approach and with extensive use of clear comprehensive diagrams, Essential Microbiology explains key topics through the use of definition boxes and end of chapter questions.
This book will be invaluable for undergraduate students in the biological, food and health sciences taking a first course in Microbiology.
Reviewer:Janet Hudzicki, PhD(University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description:This is a basic introductory microbiology text for first or second year non-microbiology majors. It covers the basic principles of microbiology using concise descriptions supplemented with simple but understandable diagrams.
Purpose:The author's goal was to provide an introduction to microbiology for students who require a less detailed, less comprehensive, and less expensive text than what is currently available. This goal is based on his premise that the content that needs to be covered in an introductory microbiology course for non-majors differs from the content of an introductory microbiology course for majors.
Audience:According to the author, this book is written specifically for those science majors with minimal background in chemistry, cell biology, and biochemistry who need an introduction to basic microbiological principles. In his teaching at the University of Glamorgan, Dr. Hogg works extensively with this type of student, therefore he is well aware of their needs. In my opinion, this book is appropriate for this type of student.
Features:The first section reviews the basic science that underlies microbiology: chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology. The focus then moves to the requirements for cultivating microorganisms and the diversity of the microbial world. The second half of the book explores the applied aspect of microbiology such as genetic engineering, industrial microbiology, and controlling microorganisms. The numerous diagrams are easy to understand. As new terms are introduced, they are featured in shaded boxes on the page and a glossary of key terms is included, as well as a section listing suggested additional readings on select topics. The biggest drawback is that the diagrams are rarely on the same page as the accompanying text. This requires flipping back and forth between pages to examine the diagram while reading the explanation.
Assessment:This book is suitable as an introductory microbiology text. It provides a good overview of the field of microbiology without overwhelming the student with details. It lacks the visual attractiveness of many other basic microbiology texts currently available, but using only black-and-white illustrations keeps the price of the book affordable. This would also be appropriate for an advanced placement high school microbiology course.