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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 209

Howard Gest. Microbes: An invisible Universe

Jhaveri Microbiology Centre, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad 500034, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
R J Jose
Jhaveri Microbiology Centre, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad 500034, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Jose R J. Howard Gest. Microbes: An invisible Universe. Indian J Med Microbiol 2005;23:209

How to cite this URL:
Jose R J. Howard Gest. Microbes: An invisible Universe. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2005 [cited 2020 Oct 19];23:209. Available from:

American Society for Microbiology Press, Washington 2003, ISBN: 1-55581-264-3, Original Price: $ 39.95, Special Indian Price: Rs 495.00

During the past decade, a wide range of books has addressed the topic of the infinitesimal organisms and their interactions with higher beings. In Microbes: An invisible Universe, Howard Gest attempts to put this topic into a format appropriate for easy understanding. The book is sufficiently well done to stand as an introductory reading material in Microbiology, for non-scientists as well as for beginners in this branch of science.

The Microbes: An invisible Universe is relatively compact and quite informative. The book has many photographs and illustrations that bring the text to life, including unique photographs from field situations. In 220 pages and 24 chapters, the author manoeuvers through the basic principles of microbiology, microbial biochemistry, and infectious diseases. An unusual and welcome addition is the appendices that follow these chapters, which deal with certain fascinating facts and details.

Within the limits of the compact framework of this book, Howard Gest has briefly but successfully dealt with the exciting events that lead to the development of microbiology. In the initial chapters, he has touched upon the history behind the discovery of microbes and the development of microbial identification and maintenance techniques. The latter chapters aim to acquaint the reader with various microbes that utilize diverse biochemical pathways for survival and the extraordinary ecology and lifestyles of these organisms. The final chapters deal with microbial infections and the methods to prevent these infections. A chapter has been devoted to briefly introduce the basic molecular mechanisms of the microbial world and the new vistas in microbial biotechnology.

The topics and organization in the book comprise characteristics well suited for a novice in the field of Microbiology. Through the 24 chapters, the author in a very simple way navigates through the history and development of this branch of science, and the text is well interlaced with historical anecdotes, priceless photographs and thought provoking cartoons. Students will find the "Biographical notes" as well as the "Glossary" quite interesting and useful. The author also provides suggestions for further reading that might be helpful for instructors.

Although this book provides an informative summary of principles that are quite useful for a basic course in microbiology, the abbreviated treatment is an unavoidable shortcoming. This book might prove unsatisfactory in situations where detailed descriptions of microbiological procedures, chemical principles, metabolic pathways or molecular mechanisms etc. are required. This book could well serve any science-interested audience. The text would be an excellent choice for schools, provided that students are given supplemental readings wherever required.


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2004 - Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow

Online since April 2001, new site since 1st August '04