Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Rebecca T. Horvat, PhD, D (ABMM)(University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: This is the latest in a series of an established review of the most exciting research in the field of microbiology. As usual, the chapters are easy to read for scientists in any field.
Purpose: According to the editor, the purpose is to "record major developments in microbiology" that "contribute not only to our knowledge of the world" but "also to the future welfare of mankind." This certainly is true of the 2007 volume that discusses the many ways in which microorganisms intersect human with lives.
Audience: This is clearly the one book that all academic microbiology departments should have available as a resource. The topics are well written at a level that most students can understand. It also is enjoyable for scientists as a quick way to review the major advances in this field. Each of the topics is carefully chosen and the authors are clearly well established scientists in their area of research.
Features: This book covers a large variety of topics such as the mechanism of isoniazid killing and as the worm turns, which describes the earthworm gut and the turnover in gut microflora. Among the especially interesting topics is the discussion of the endolithic microbial systems that find microbial life in rock. These endolithic communities are ubiquitous and can provide a mechanism to trace microbial ecology, geobiology, and astrobiology. It brings up the theory that microbial life may have been introduced from a different part of the solar system via space debris. Several other interesting and helpful features are the summary points at the end of each chapter as well as future issues that need to be addressed. Another nice feature is the highlighting of important or sentinel publications in the reference sections, allowing readers to investigate the key findings in the scientific literature.
Assessment: This is a very good addition to this annual series. It is always useful to have such a reference available.