Description: This volume of Annual Review of Microbiology contains an intimidating amount of research on all areas of microbial life. As with previous volumes, this one contains a number of reviews by different authors and contains a variety of topics related to microbial life.
Purpose: The purpose is to highlight areas of microbial research that are innovative and intriguing. The book serves a unique purpose of bringing together a variety of different microbial research in order to stimulate researchers in distant but related fields to generate new ideas. In this respect, this is unique as a reference.
Audience: This book is written for scientists working in all areas of microbial research. The authors of each chapter are well known scientists with stimulating approaches to microbial research. Science is served well by this type of cross pollination.
Features: The 23 reviews cover a large variety of topics from radical enzymes in anaerobes and defining virulence genes in dimorphic fungi to virus counterdefense: diverse strategies for evading the RNA-silencing immunity. Each chapter gave me some insight into my own microbial world. I especially enjoyed the chapter on Francisella tularensis since this has been a subject of interest to me. However, other topics held my attention, such as the curli production of common bacteria such as E. coli or the impact of the environmental bacteria Roseobacter on marine animals. An interesting feature in the references is the way certain references were highlighted with short a description why it was key to the topic discussed in that chapter. Overall, I was impressed with the breadth of microbial research.
Assessment: This is a book that should be included in the library of any academic microbiology department and university. The topics are broad enough to be useful to many different fields of investigation. This is a good 60th volume of this review series.