MICROBE POWER: Tomorrow's Revolution by Brian J. Ford

MICROBE POWER: Tomorrow's Revolution

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More huzzahs for the mighty microbes--heroes for all times. (Heroines, too, considering there's sex in bacteria.) Ford's exuberant text makes it clear that algae, fungi, bacteria, and protozoa are essential in providing the fuel or stoking the fires of life on earth. He begins by describing the virtues--many still to be exploited--of microbes as food or fuel, as anti-pollution devices par excellence, and as ""salugens."" (This is a word he coined in opposition to pathogens to describe the benefits we derive from the normal population of skin or gut flora.) Some of this is familiar material (q.v. Dixon, p. 662) but two things make Ford's book different and fascinating. One is his subtle analysis of microbe ecology, the interaction of microbial forms with other living matter at all levels of the food chain. The second is his description of representative species. Here the scientist's esthetic delight is manifest: ""the entrancing behavior of Vorticella""; ""Sarcina, which has the attractive habit of growing in neat little cubes of eight."" Ford's drawings are a graceful accompaniment to the text and his descriptions of the complex behavior of microbes--much of which defies explanation--might well challenge a student to investigate further.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Stein & Day