Micro-organisms affect every aspect of life on Earth. Some microbes cause disease but the majority are completely harmless.
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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!
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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Some dentists recommend that a toothbrush should be kept at least 2 metres away from a toilet to avoid air-borne particles resulting from the flush – what a large bathroom!
Microbes often suffer from negative press but guess what, only 5% actually cause disease and many more are very helpful.
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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!
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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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.
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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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!
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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The toilet handle in most bathrooms at work has 400 times more germs than the toilet seat.
If you pick up a handful of garden soil you will be holding hundreds if not thousands of different kinds of microbes.
One single teaspoon of soil contains 1 billion bacteria & 120,000 fungi & 25,000 algae
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.
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.
Protozoa can be observed using unstained wet mounts. The following website gives an overview of some of the commonly found freshwater protozoa.
Free resources on hot topics such as TB, AIDS and microbes and climate change.