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Multicellular parasitic worms called helminth s are not technically microorganisms, as most are large enough to see without a microscope. However, these worms fall within the field of microbiology because diseases caused by helminths involve microscopic eggs and larvae. One example of a helminth is the guinea worm , or Dracunculus medinensis , which causes dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, and painful ulcers on the legs and feet when the worm works its way out of the skin ( [link] ). Infection typically occurs after a person drinks water containing water fleas infected by guinea-worm larvae. In the mid-1980s, there were an estimated 3.5 million cases of guinea-worm disease, but the disease has been largely eradicated. In 2014, there were only 126 cases reported, thanks to the coordinated efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other groups committed to improvements in drinking water sanitation. C. Greenaway “Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease).” Canadian Medical Association Journal 170 no. 4 (2004):495–500. World Health Organization. “Dracunculiasis (Guinea-Worm Disease).” WHO . 2015. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs359/en/. Accessed October 2, 2015.

Figure a is a photograph of a long, flat, white worm folded back and forth on a black background. Figure b shows a lesion on a patient. A worm is being pulled out of the lesion and being wrapped around a matchstick
(a) The beef tapeworm, Taenia saginata , infects both cattle and humans. T. saginata eggs are microscopic (around 50 µm), but adult worms like the one shown here can reach 4–10 m, taking up residence in the digestive system. (b) An adult guinea worm, Dracunculus medinensis , is removed through a lesion in the patient’s skin by winding it around a matchstick. (credit a, b: modification of work by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


Virus es are acellular microorganisms, which means they are not composed of cells. Essentially, a virus consists of proteins and genetic material—either DNA or RNA, but never both—that are inert outside of a host organism. However, by incorporating themselves into a host cell, viruses are able to co-opt the host’s cellular mechanisms to multiply and infect other hosts.

Viruses can infect all types of cells, from human cells to the cells of other microorganisms. In humans, viruses are responsible for numerous diseases, from the common cold to deadly Ebola ( [link] ). However, many viruses do not cause disease.

Figure A is a TEM micrograph showing large circles with many small projections protruding outwards from the edge of the circles. A scale bar shows how large 50 nanometers is relative to this micrograph. Figure B is a TEM micrograph showing long red strands forming a knot-like structure.
(a) Members of the Coronavirus family can cause respiratory infections like the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Here they are viewed under a transmission electron microscope (TEM). (b) Ebolavirus, a member of the Filovirus family, as visualized using a TEM. (credit a: modification of work by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; credit b: modification of work by Thomas W. Geisbert)
  • Are helminths microorganisms? Explain why or why not.
  • How are viruses different from other microorganisms?

Microbiology as a field of study

Microbiology is a broad term that encompasses the study of all different types of microorganisms. But in practice, microbiologists tend to specialize in one of several subfields. For example, bacteriology is the study of bacteria; mycology is the study of fungi; protozoology is the study of protozoa; parasitology is the study of helminths and other parasites; and virology is the study of viruses ( [link] ). Immunology , the study of the immune system, is often included in the study of microbiology because host–pathogen interactions are central to our understanding of infectious disease processes. Microbiologists can also specialize in certain areas of microbiology, such as clinical microbiology, environmental microbiology, applied microbiology, or food microbiology.

Questions & Answers

reactions if viruses to physical and chemical agents?
All viruses contain the following two components: 1) a nucleic acid genome and 2) a protein capsid that covers the genome. Together this is called the nucleocapsid. In addition, many animal viruses contain a 3) lipid envelope. The entire intact virus is called the virion.
assume you have performed a gram stain on a sample of pus from a patients urethra. you see red, nucleated cells and purple rods. what can you conclude
Petty Reply
Study of micro organisation which we cannot see with naked eye...
shyam Reply
Despite their bad reputation, microbes are mostly beneficial or have a neutral effect on our lives. Microbiology is the scientific study of these microorganisms. Microorganisms are those organisms that are too small to see with the naked eye and include things like bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
not 'things'...'organisms' like bacterias, viruses and fungi
simi, it's not bacterias but bacteria which is the plural form of the word while bacterium is the singular of it
bacterium is obvio in a singular form but plural of bacterium is bacterias
Richard is right it's bacterium which is the singular form and plural is bacteria. *Bacterias* doesn't exist.
what is microbiology?
Sandeep Reply
what is microbiology
is the study of small microorganisms that can't be viewed by our naked eyes under a microscope
it's the study of microbes their classification, diversity, their cellular structure and processes, their applications and interaction with other organisms.
what is EMP pathway
which organism is implicated in meningoencephalitis
Peter Reply
Herpes virus
which mold is called dairy mold?
Geotrichum candidum
which infectious agent is the smallest
spore or virus
prion ....it is a single protein in a misfolded form..there is also a theory based on it
yup...m sry
yes it can be turned as a virus
which gram positive bacteria is responsible for food poisoning?
prion is not a living organism yet it is infectoois why
prions are virus like organism. and it is a misfolded protein that may cause disease to us.
Clostridium perfringens, B.cereus
Who is the father of the biology
I have one more question. . that who is the father of botany and medicine? ? can any one tell
define polar bond in simple way
Rashmi Reply
when there is formation of positive and negative poles i.e. one atom is +ve and other is -ve which further results in the dipole moment. Such bond is know as polar bond. It is a convalent bond only.
Hi everyone, is these site only about microbiology? I want a site which I can download articles on hematological and biochemical profile
Peter Reply
I think it is only about micro biology.
so whats happening
I am about to enter school and am going for MCB
Olugbenga Reply
What is DNA damage and repair
Sree Reply
removal of nucleotide bases from DNA is damage n addition or insertion of bases in DNA is repair.
replication is a term related to generation of new DNA from a parental DNA.
role of microorganism as pathogens
Parteek Reply
to live inside the host body, reproduction n destroy the immune system of host body.
what is replication
please give me ans
replication is a term related to generation of new DNA from parental DNA.
difference between endotoxin and exotoxin
Binkheir Reply
toxins released inside the cell or a body is endotoxin n toxins released outside the cell or a body is exotoxin.
Generally, exotoxins are produced by gram positive bacteria and endotoxins are the integral part of the cell wall of gram negative bacteria. But some gram negative bacteria can also produced exotoxins such as E.coli.
Yeah u r ryt aakarti exotoxins screted by gram postive bacteria nd secreted by cell surface and they are secondary metabolites ....On the other hand endotoxin released by gram negtive bacteria nd released inside the cell (lipopolysaccharide) ..
Heat stable lipopolysaccharides to be exact.
please I want the names of bacteria and the diseases they cause.
Ibrahim Reply
there are many we classify it according to their shapes gram negative or gram positive
so u may refer the book u guess or by when u want I can do a list for you and send u here
please do a list for me
I have the lost but it's too much to type ..
MSc entrance prepare books and questions LA etha base pani irukum..
Guhan Reply
kushal always prescott is the imp book to follow.search some objective mcqs books based on your syllabus
deepthi Reply
I want to clear entrance of ms university so I have no more idea so my preparation is based on my bachlor studies.
what are the opportunistic infection in aids stage
certain cancer or pneumonia 🤔
penicillium crysogenum
Kushal Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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