Dictionary of microbiology

Dictionary of microbiology

Veterinary Microbiology, 4 (1979) 321--324 © Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam -- Printed in The Netherlands 321 Book Reviews DICTIO...

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Veterinary Microbiology, 4 (1979) 321--324 © Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam -- Printed in The Netherlands



Dictionary of Microbiology. Paul Singleton and Diana Sainsbury. WileyInterscience, J o h n Wiley and Sons, Chichester, New York, N.Y., Brisbane, Qld., Toronto, Ont., 1978. 481 pp., 3 tables, 18 figs, 20 appendices, ISBN 0-471-99658-0. M o d e m microbiologists usually have special interests as bacteriologists, virologists, mycologists or protozoologists. All, to a greater or lesser degree, have an interest in immunology. Each of these disciplines has its fairly distinctive nomenclature, terms, concepts, techniques and particular topics. A Dictionary of Microbiology, covering all these areas, is of great value to undergraduate and post-graduate microbiologists as well as to those of other professions such as lawyers, engineers, accountants, media personnel, social workers, dentists, medical and veterinary practitioners, who may need to consider some unfamiliar aspect of microbiology in the course of their professional activity. Paul Singleton and Diana Salnsbury have compiled a very concise, but informative, dictionary covering terms, concepts, tests and techniques related to pure and applied microbiology, biochemistry, immunology and genetics as well as supplying definitions and descriptions of more than one thousand taxa. The taxonomic schemes used in the dictionary are based on Bergey's "Manual of Determinative Bacteriology" (1974) and " A General Purpose Classification of the Fungi" by G.C. Ainsworth (1966). Descriptions of viruses follow the system recommended in " T h e Biology of Animal Viruses" by F. Fenner et al. (1974) while t h a t for Protozoa is largely based on " A Revised Classification of the Phylum Protozoa" by B.M. Honigberg et al. (1964) as well as on recent literature. Entries, which number more than 5300, vary from a single description to a concise review of a term or technique covering more than three pages (bacteriophage). In this respect it can be considered, to some extent, to be an encyclopedia as well as a dictionary. There is a clear system of cross indexing which considerably extends the information available on a particular topic. The following entries are fairly typical: "Haemagglutination. The agglutination of erythrocytes. Haemagglutination may be brought about by: (a) The interaction between erythrocytes and antibodies homologous to the surface antigerm of those erythrocytes (haemagglutinins). (b) Certain viruses. Some viruses, e.g., orthomyxoviruses, paramyxoviruses, agglutinate the erythrocytes of particular species; the virions attach to specific sites on the red cell membrane and thus act as links between cells. Following haemagglutination some viruses e.g., orthomyxoviruses, elute spontaneously (see Neuraminidase).


(c) Passive haemagglutination: see Passive agglutinatior~ (d) The action of non-specific substances such as Lectins. (e) Infection by Plasmodium fulciparum (see Malaria). (f) Fimbriate bacteria"

"Nomen reficiendum. In taxonomy, any name which has been formally described as unacceptable."

The Greek alphabet is set out on the inside cover of the dictionary. The book is printed in very clear type with variations of pointing and setting for cross referencing and it appears to be well bound. The authors are to be congratulated on providing a very useful and worthwhile reference book for a wide spectrum of biologists. The reviewer expects this book to be a well-used and valued addition to his library. E.L. FRENCH

(Mr. Eliza, Vic., Australia)



The Molecular Biology o f Animal Viruses. Debi Prosad Nayak (Editor). Marcel Decker, Inc., New York, N.Y. and Basel, 1977, Vol. 1 (542 pp). and Vol. 2 (467 p p . ) . The present book (in two volumes) is a d o c u m e n t of progress in molecular biology of the major groups of animal viruses and, according to the Editor, "designed to serve as a text or a reference in advanced graduate courses in animal v i r o l o g y . . . " . The two volumes are composed of contributions from 21 experts. Volume 1 deals with 7 (of 11) established families of RNA viruses and Volume 2 w i t h all the 5 established families of DNA viruses -- each family presented in a separate chapter. In Volume 1 there are two additional chapters belonging to the field of general virology; one on s y m m e t r y of virus architecture:and the other on interferon. Editorially, I have difficulty in seeing much in these two chapters which is relevant to what is discussed in connection with the particular virus groups. The chapter on virus architecture takes (necessarily) also into account plant and insect viruses as well as phages. Research on interferon, now in rapid progress, deserves a coherent presentation. However, no other contribution (in the two volumes) deals with mechanisms of defense, which should also have included the rapidly growing impact of immunology. In the Preface, it is said that "some of the chapters are likely to become somewhat outdated soon", this, however, being an accepted fate of virology books and monographs today. The gap has to be filled in with data from more recent reviews or original reports. This is particularly true regarding