Microbiology Today August 2006 - Microscopy and techniques

A range of microscopy technologies is available for use by microbiologists. This issue of Microbiology Today looks at some of the ways these technologies are being used to advance our understanding of the lives of some fascinating micro-organisms.

Fluorescence microscopy as a research tool in bacterial cell biology
Jeff Errington takes a look at the revolutionary new views of the subcellular organization of bacteria provided by immunofluorescence, GFP and digital imaging.

Investigating a bacterial killer using atomic force microscopy
Atomic force microscopy is a powerful technique for studying biological surfaces and molecular structure. In their article, Megan Núñez and Eileen Spain tell us how they have applied AFM to study the secret life of the predatory killer Bdellovibrio.

Viruses and intracellular movement
As we've seen with SARS and bird 'flu, viruses seem to have few problems travelling across continents - they use their hosts! But how do viruses, which have no independent means of locomotion, manage to move within and between the cells of their host? Tom Wileman uses fluorescence microscopy to find out.

Studying single molecules in microbial systems
Recent advances in imaging technologies have enabled researchers to pinpoint individual molecules in living cells. Christoph Baumann describes two key bacterial enzyme complexes that have advanced our understanding of 'nanoscopic' motion.

Can you see the light?
Recent advances in fluorescence imaging have lead to some amazing findings, but the technical challenges and baffling array of options have tended to restrict new technologies to a limited few. Iain Hagan and colleagues look at simple and affordable steps to exploit these developments.

A discussion of some of the problems with time lapse microscopy is available here.

A movie containing the images in Fig. 4 in the article is available here at high or low resolution.

Henry Baker: author of the first microscopy laboratory manual
Henry Baker played a big part in popularizing the microscope in the 18th century. Richard Burns describes the life and activities of this distinguished polymath.

Comment: Open option for SGM journals
The Wellcome Trust has joined other bodies in imposing open access conditions on authors reporting research they have funded. With this in mind, SGM has had to develop a strategy to combat this threat to the Society's publishing income, as Ron Fraser and Robin Dunford explain.

Looking at microbes can be very rewarding, but the setting up of a microscope is a skill that if often not mastered in schools. John Grainger gives some handy hints for using a microscope.

Jane Westwell and Bob Rastall take a look at 'Successfully surviving your viva' and give some ideas of what to expect, as well as handy tips to help students overcome a big hurdle in the path to a PhD.

Hot off the Press highlights some new developments in microbiological research published in the Society's journals - Microbiology, Journal of General Virology, International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology and Journal of Medical Microbiology. Topics covered include:

  • Rabies in the air
  • BSE - no prions detected in milk
  • Bacteria solve a problem for wasps
  • Colonization of buried plastic

Other items include:

Last updated 17 July 2006