As you begin to explore the world of microorganisms, one of the first things you'll notice is their extraordinary diversity - of structure, function, habitat and applications. Microorganisms (or microbes) inhabit every corner of the globe, are indispensable to life on Earth, are responsible for some of the most deadly human diseases and form the basis of many industrial processes. Yet until a few hundred years ago, nobody knew they existed!
In this opening chapter, we offer some answers to three questions:
• What is microbiology?
• Why is it such an important subject?
• How have we gained our present knowledge of microbiology?
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