Spores of fungus, <em>Candida albicans</em> b/w Spores of fungus, <em>Candida albicans</em>

Spores of fungus, Candida albicans

The long strands are the tubular filaments (hyphae) that have developed from the fungal spores. Yeast cells (rounded, yellow) are budding from the ends of the hyphae (red). Candida albicans causes the infection known as candidiasis which affects the moist mucous membranes of the body, such as skin folds, mouth, respiratory tract and vagina. Oral and vaginal conditions are known as thrush.

About Microbiology

Micro-organisms affect every aspect of life on Earth. Some microbes cause disease but the majority are completely harmless.

These minute life forms are essential to the cycling of nutrients in the eco-systems of the planet.

We need to understand the role of microbes in global terms, but there are many aspects of our daily lives where knowledge of microbiology can help us answer everyday questions such as

  • How can I avoid flu?
  • Should I have the HPV vaccine?
  • Should I take probiotics?
  • How is yoghurt made?
  • What precautions do I need to take to stay fit and healthy when travelling abroad?

And even...

  • What happens to my poo when I go to the loo?

Biotechnology, which often uses microbes or their products, is a fast-growing area of science. Some of the techniques used, such as genetic modification, cause public concern. A good understanding of the science behind such controversial issues enables balanced judgements to be made.

Since microbes are of such biological, economic and social significance, it is important that microbiology is a part of everyone’s education.

Introducing Microbes

Micro-organisms can be friend or foe but most importantly, we all need them to live!

Microbe passports

Take a peek down the microscope and explore further the secret world of microbes.

Microbes and the human body

Ever wondered why when we are surrounded by microbes we are not ill all the time?

Microbes and food

Food for thought - bread, chocolate, yoghurt, blue cheese and tofu are all made using microbes.

Microbes and the outdoors

The function of microbes as tiny chemical processors is to keep the life cycles of the planet turning.

Microbes and climate change

How are microbes contributing to climate change?