Discovery and Exploration of the Microbial Universe: 1665 to "Modern Times"

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2010-04-21
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Recent research has shown that the first observation and published depiction of a microorganism (Mucor) was made by Robert Hooke (1665), whose microscope expertise facilitated the later discovery of bacteria by Antoni v. Leeuwenhoek. In 1835, Agostino Bassi proved that an infectious disease of animals was caused by a microbe. Forty years later, Ferdinand Cohn's research ushered in the age of "modern microbiology," with major contributions from Robert Koch, Martinus Beijerinck, and Sergei Winogradsky. The present essay also highlights a number of subsequent investigators who discovered fundamental aspects of microbial (and virus) growth and biochemical mechanisms. Nowadays, scientists whose research provided the basis of microbial molecular biology are sometimes recognized by single-line entries in textbook tables.
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microbial ecology, microbial biochemistry and physiology, medical microbiology, histories of discoveries in general microbiology
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Article