Micro-organisms affect every aspect of life on Earth. Some microbes cause disease but the majority are completely harmless.
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Most microbes do not cause disease - less than 5% do.
Micro-organisms can be used to demonstrate principles of biology and to model industrial processes, as well as offering opportunities for teaching across the curriculum.
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The largest organism in the world when measured by area is the Honey Mushroom fungus. It covers a whopping 8.9km2 of a national forest in the USA.
Microbes often suffer from negative press but guess what, only 5% actually cause disease and many more are very helpful.
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According to Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist in Arizona the bathroom is cleaner then the kitchen in the average house. He says you're safer making a sandwich on top of the toilet bowl than in the kitchen.
Keeping up with the latest news and research about microbes is easy with Microbiology Online – your one-stop shop for microbial science education.
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The toilet handle in most bathrooms at work has 400 times more germs than the toilet seat.
The Microbiology Society is a professional body for scientists who work in all areas of microbiology. It has over 4,000 members worldwide who are based in universities, industry, hospitals and research institutes.
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The dirtiest spots in the kitchen are dishcloths, cutting boards, sponges, and sink handles. Surprisingly, the floor is often cleaner than the sink!
Malaria is caused by the single-celled parasite Plasmodium. It is transmitted from one person to another by certain species of blood sucking mosquito. The parasite spends part of its complex life cycle inside red blood cells.
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Microbes generate at least half the oxygen we breathe.
Dr Winkle Weinberg, an infectious diseases expert, reckons that when we have a cold and cough the virus particles can travel at 320 kilometres an hour and up to 900 metres. That is faster than a passenger jet at takeoff!
A study found that 30% of all people didn't wash their hands after using a public bathroom—although 90% claimed they do. Just think what may be on their hands!
Protozoa can be observed using unstained wet mounts. The following website gives an overview of some of the commonly found freshwater protozoa.
Algae can be observed using unstained wet mounts. This gives an overview of algae.
Observing bacteria in a Petri dish.
Observing fungi in a Petri dish.