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If someone asked you what substance on Earth was the most toxic on a per gram basis, what would you say? Mercury? Lead? Dioxin? PCBs? It turns out it's a bacteria, one that women pay to have injected into their skin. The name is Clostridium botulinum, a microorganism that causes a rare but serious illness called botulism. Injections into the skin are relatively safe; what you don't want is to end up with this bacteria in your intestinal tract or bloodstream. As the most poisonous substance known, one gram of this bacteria's crystalline toxin is enough to kill one million people. The LD50 is defined as the dose level of a substance that will kill 50% of the population it is given to. For botulinum toxin, the LD50 is estimated to be 1ng/kg parenterally and 3ng/kg by inhalational route. There is nothing so deadly anywhere on the Earth. Welcome to the world of microbiology.

A thorough course in microbiology will involve five main areas:

  • Bacteriology
  • Virology
  • Mycology
  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

In each main area there is an enormous amount of material to be covered and knowledge to be gained. It's not uncommon for textbooks in microbiology to have on the order of 100 chapters, spread throughout the broad topics given above.

Excellent books in microbiology can be found on Google and Amazon.com. In addition, there is a terrific collection of microbiology web links offered by McGraw Hill. Finally, students can take advantage of a good online microbiology tutorial.

To fulfill our mission of educating students, our online tutoring centers are standing by 24/7, ready to assist students who need help with microbiology.

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