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Book Recommendations

A Friday Book Recommendation

This isn’t exactly med-chem, but its focus probably overlaps with the interests of a number of readers around here. I recently came across a copy of A Field Guide to Bacteria and enjoyed it very much. I don’t think there’s another book quite like it available: it describes where you’re likely to find different varieties of bacteria (from hot springs to your fridge), how they behave in a natural environment (as opposed to a culture dish) and how to identify them by field marks, if possible. It’s not written for microbiologists, but it can provide a different perspective even if you work in the field (since many people that do focus on pathogens – really a very small subset of bacteria, when you get down to it).
I’m already inspired to set up some Winogradsky columns with my kids, perhaps with some unusual chemical additives to see what happens. If we discover anything, I’ll report back. . .

11 comments on “A Friday Book Recommendation”

  1. Steve says:

    Hi Derek, new reader here. Thanks for the recommendation! I’m a microbial ecologist, so I’m always pleased when something enters the public sphere about microbes that aren’t OMG TEH GERMS.

  2. Jordan says:

    Neat idea for a book. Thanks for passing the recommendation along, Derek.

  3. Curt Fischer says:

    Recommendation seconded! I thought I was the only one who loved this thing. If you do Winogradsky columns, you should definitely try the trick with the magnets to isolate magnetotactic bacteria. So cool!

  4. gillespie says:

    I’d be careful with the Winogradsky column… you can grow some nasty things that will be more than happy to colonize your body in various invasive ways.

  5. milkshake says:

    I would prefer my kids playing with Clostridum and Vibrio cholerae – instead of making acetonperoxide.

  6. Derek Lowe says:

    Gillespie, I plan on keeping that sucker sealed up. If I do reach in to take a microscope sample, though, I’ll glove up, etc.

  7. Interesting – I’ll definitely pick up the book. Probably rather spooky as well! Stephanie

  8. Epicanis says:

    I happen to have a copy of that book right next to me at the moment, in a stack of other microbiology-nerd books. Definitely recommended.

  9. Vader says:

    Bought that one a while back. I still have an empty olive jar sitting around somewhere that I mean to turn into a Winogradsky column one of these days.

  10. isaac says:

    My son and I setup a winogradsky column almost two years ago. We didn’t seal it tightly so the sulfur smell drove it outside. I think most of the sulfur’s gone as the reds have been replaced with greens. I wonder what’d happen if we dropped an egg on top….

  11. Dave_n says:

    If it is still in print, then you should read John Postgate’s “Microbes and Man”. I had the privilege of being John’s first graduate student to finish their doctorate, many, many years ago in another life. Nice to see microbes attaining their correct place in life. Dave_n

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