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Lecture 1

55-237 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Opportunistic Infection, Antimicrobial Resistance, Parasitology

Biological Sciences
Course Code
BIOL 2070

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A. Learning Objectives (LOs):
A. Microbiology basics/types of microbes
1. List and briefly describe the different sorts of organisms that are considered to be microbes/microorganisms.
oSingle-celled organisms
oEnclosed in cell walls that are composed of a carbohydrate and protein complex (peptidoglycan)
oReproduce by binary fission
oMost bacteria use organic chemicals (dead or living organisms)
oSome have a flagella
oSome can make their own food (photosynthesis), some can derive food from inorganic substances
oBacillus (rodike), coccus (spherical) and spiral (corkscrew or curved)
oCan form pairs, chains, clusters or other groupings (characteristic of genus or species)
oCell walls lack peptidoglycan
oMethanogens (produce methane as a waste from respiration), extreme halophiles (salt loving),
extreme thermophiles (live in hot sulfurous waters)
oNot known to cause disease in humans
-Fungi (yeast and molds)
oEukaryotic (nuclear membrane)
oMay be unicellular or multicellular
oCannot carry out photosynthesis
oCell walls composed of chitin
oUnicellular yeast are bigger than bacteria
oMolds form visible masses called mycelia (long filaments, hyphae, that intertwine)
oCan reproduce sexually or asexually
oObtain food by absorbing solutions of organic material from their environment
oSlime moulds have characteristics of both fungi and amoebas
oUnicellular eukaryotes
oMove by pseudopods, flagella or cilia
oLive as free entities or parasites
oAbsorb or ingest organic compounds from their environment
oSome are photosynthetic (Euglena)
oCan reproduce sexually or asexually
-Microscopic algae
oPhotosynthetic eukaryotes
oSexual and asexual reproduction
oUsually unicellular
oThe cell walls of many are composed of a carbohydrate called cellulose
oAbundant in fresh and salt water, in soil and in association with plants
oThey do not generally require organic compounds from their environment
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Just CO2, light and H2O
oAcellular, very small (need electron microscope); DNA or RNA, protein coat (sometimes with a lipid
membrane – envelope); parasitic of other forms of life
-Animal parasites are eukaryotes
oTwo major groups of parasitic worms are flatworms and the round worms called the helminthes
oDuring some stages of their life helminthes are microscopic
2. Describe similarities and differences between different sorts of microorganisms. [Comprehension]
oCell walls contains protein-carbohydrate complex: peptidoglycan
oCell walls, if present, lack peptidoglycan
oProtists (slime moulds, protozoa and algae)
oFungi (unicellular yeasts, multicellular molds and mushrooms)
oPlants (mosses, ferns, conifers and flowering plants)
oAnimals (sponges, worms, insects and vertebrates)
3. Explain how “infectious particles” (viruses, viroids and prions) differ from microorganisms (bacteria, archaea, and
eukaryotic microbes). [Comprehension]
-They are acellular entities (can reproduce only by using the cellular machinery of other organisms)
-Viruses: small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of other organisms
-Viroid: plant pathogens that consist of a short stretch of highly complementary, circular, single-stranded RN
-Prions: an infectious agent composed of protein in a misfolded form
4. Correctly represent the scientific (genus and species) name of an organism, with appropriate formatting, and/or
recognize correct formatting of scientific names. [Application]
-Genus is the first name and its always capitalized
-Specific epithet (species name) follows and is not capitalized
-Both names are underlined or italicized
oStaphylococcus aureus (S. aureus)
oEscherichia coli (E. Coli)
5. Describe what is meant by the taxonomic term “Domain”, listing and briefly describing basic characteristics of the
three domains. [Knowledge, Comprehension]
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-Domain: a domain is the highest taxonomic rank of organisms in the three-domain system of taxonomy
oDesigned by Carl Woese, an American microbiologist and biophysicist
-Bacteria: prokaryotic microorganisms with cell walls made of carbohydrate-protein complex (peptidoglycan)
-Archaea: prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms (contain more complex metabolic pathways than bacteria)
oIf they have a cell wall, it lacks peptidogycan
-Eukaryota (sometimes part of Archaea): any organism whose cells contain a nucleus
oAmong other structures (organelles) enclosed within membranes
6. Describe the limitations of the term “prokaryote” (i.e., why some biologists prefer not to use it). [Comprehension,
-Similar on a superficial level (no nucleus and much smaller)
-But Archaea are more closely related to eukaryotes than bacteria!
oProkaryotes refer to both bacteria and Archaea
oNot helpful when trying to think of the various relationships between organisms
B. Impact of microbes
1. List and briefly describe several ways in which microbes affect humans (directly or indirectly). [Comprehension]
-Some are part of our normal microbiota, help defend against pathogens
-Some are used to create materials we need (alcohol etc…)
2. Explain what is meant when we say that bacteria and archaea are ubiquitous on Earth. [Comprehension]
-They are found everywhere, even where we don’t see them (they are very small)
-Even found in association with other organisms
3. Explain what is meant by “metabolic diversity” in bacteria and archaea. [Comprehension]
-The metabolic diversity and ability of prokaryotes to use a large variety of organic compounds arises from the
much deeper evolutionary history and diversity of prokaryotes, as compared to eukaryotes
-Organisms can be classified according to their energy requirements as:
oPhototrophs, if energy comes from solar radiation
oChemotrophs, if the energy source is inorganic-(Chemolithotroph) or organic-(Chemoorganotroph)
reduced compounds
-According to the mechanism used, they can be classified as:
oPhotosynthetic (oxygenic and anoxygenic)
oRespirers (aerobic and anaerobic)
-Depending on the carbon source, organisms can be:
oAutotrophs or self-feeders, if carbon is fixed from CO2 by the organisms
oHeterotrophs or consumers, if the carbon source is already existing organic matter
4. Describe ways in which microbes are beneficial (for humans and/or ecosystems). [Comprehension]
-Microbes can produce methane and ethanol which can be used to generate electricity and power vehicles
-Bacteria and fungi help recycle vital elements between the soil and the atmosphere (C, N, O, S, P)
-Microbes are used to clean sewage water
-Bacterial enzymes are used in drain cleaners (as an alternative to toxic chemicals)
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